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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Library and Archives 



The exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 
The catalogue is partially underwritten by a grant from the Federal Republic of Germany. 
Additional support for the exhibition has been contributed by Lufthansa German Airlines. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 

The Members Guild of The High Museum of Art 
has sponsored the presentation in Atlanta. 

Published by 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1983 

ISBN: 0-89107-044-7 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 83-50760 

© The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1983 

Kandinsky Society 

Claude Pompidou, President 

Dominique Bozo, Vice-President 

Thomas M. Messer, Vice-President 

Christian Derouet, Secretary 

Edouard Balladur 

Karl Flinker 

Jean-Claude Groshens 

Pontus Hulten 

Jean Maheu 

Werner Schmalenbach 

Armin Zweite 

Hans K. Roethel 

Cover: Kandinsky, In the Black Square. June 1923 (cat. no. 146) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 


Solomon R. Guggenheim, Justin K. Thannhauser, Peggy Guggenheim 

president Peter O. Lawson-Johnston 

vice president The Right Honorable Earl Castle Stewart 

trustees Anne L. Armstrong, Elaine Dannheisser, Michel David-Weill, Joseph W. Donner, 
Robin Chandler Duke, Robert M. Gardiner, John Hilson, Harold W. McGraw, Jr., 
Wendy L-J. McNeil, Thomas M. Messer, Frank R. Milliken, Lewis T. Preston, Seymour 
Slive, Michael F. Wettach, William T. Ylvisaker 

advisory board Susan Morse Hilles, Morton L. Janklow, Barbara Jonas, Hannelore Schulhof, Bonnie 
Ward Simon, Stephen C. Swid 

secretary-treasurer Theodore G. Dunker 

staff Aili Pontynen, Assistant Secretary; Joy N. Fearon, Assistant Treasurer; 
Veronica M. O'Connell 

director Thomas M. Messer 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

deputy director Diane Waldman 

administrator William M. Jackson 

staff Vivian Endicott Barnett, Curator; Lisa Dennison, Susan B. Hirschfeld, Assistant Curators; 
Carol Fuerstein, Editor; Sonja Bay, Librarian; Ward Jackson, Archivist; Susan M. Taylor, 
Lewis Kachur, Curatorial Assistants; Shara Wasserman, Editorial Assistant 
Louise Averill Svendsen, Curator Emeritus 

Cherie A. Summers, Registrar; Jane Rubin, Associate Registrar; Guillermo Alonso, Assistant 
Registrar; Stephanie Stitt, Registrar's Coordinator; Saul Fuerstein, Preparator; William 
Smith, David M. Veater, Preparation Assistants; Leni Potoff, Associate Conservator; 
Elizabeth Estabrook, Conservation Coordinator; Scott A. Wixon, Operations Manager; 
Tony Moore, Assistant Operations Manager; Takayuki Amano, Head Carpenter; Carmelo 
Guadagno, Photographer; David M. Heald, Associate Photographer; Holly Fullam, 
Photography Coordinator 

Mimi Poser, Officer for Development and Public Affairs; Carolyn Porcelli, Ann Kraft, 
Development Associates; Richard Pierce, Public Affairs Associate; Elizabeth K. Lawson, 
Membership Associate; Deborah J. Greenberg, Public Affairs Coordinator; Linda Gering, 
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Membership Assistant 

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Cafe and Catering; Maria Masciotti, Assistant Restaurant Manager; Katherine W. Briggs, 
Information; Christopher O'Rourke, Building Superintendent; Robert S. Flotz, Security 
Supervisor; Elbio Almiron, Marie Bradley, Assistant Security Supervisors I; John Carroll, 
Assistant Security Supervisor II 

Rebecca H. Wright, Jill Snyder, Administrative Assistants 

life members Eleanor, Countess Castle Stewart, Mr. and Mrs. Werner Dannheisser, William C. 

Edwards, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Andrew P. Fuller, Mr. and Mrs. Peter O. Lawson-Johnston, 
Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman, Mrs. S. H. Scheuer, Mrs. Evelyn Sharp, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. 
Simon, Sidney Singer, Jr., Mrs. Hilde Thannhauser 

institutional patrons Alcoa Foundation, Atlantic Richfield Foundation, Exxon Corporation, Robert Wood 

Johnson Jr. Charitable Trust, Mobil Corporation, Philip Morris Incorporated 

National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, New York 
State Council on the Arts 


Edward Albee, New York 

Herbert Bayer 

Bayerische Hypotheken- und 
Wechselbank, Munich 

George Costakis, Athens 

Nathan Cummings, New York 

Anneliese Itten, Zurich 

Lighting Associates, Inc., New York 

Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 

Lucia Moholy 

Ulrich Pfander, Tegernsee 

The Robert Gore Rifkind Center for 
German Expressionist Studies, Gift of the 
Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation, The 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

Professor K.P. Zygas, Los Angeles 

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 
New York 

Altonaer Museum, Hamburg 

The Art Institute of Chicago 

Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard 
University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Fort Worth Art Museum 

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York 

Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 
The Netherlands 

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture 
Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C. 

Kunsthaus Zurich 

Kunstmuseum Basel 

Kupferstichkabinett, Kunstmuseum Basel 

Kunstmuseum Bern 

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, 

Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
New York 

Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Centre 
d'Initiation a l'Art Moderne, Geneva 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of 
Design, Providence 

Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, 
Rotterdam, The Netherlands 

Museum Ludwig, Cologne 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas 
City, Missouri 

Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan 

Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art 

Schlemmer Family Collection, 
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 

Staatliche Museen Preussischer 
Kulturbestiz, Nationalgalerie, Berlin 

Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

Theatermuseum der Universitat Koln 

University Art Museum, University of 
California, Berkeley 

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 
The Netherlands 

Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven 

Artcurial, Paris 

Galerie Beyeler, Basel 

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne 

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York 

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

Art Advisory SA, c/o Matthiesen Fine Art 
Ltd., London 

Graphisches Kabinett Kunsthandel 
Wolfgang Werner KG, Bremen 


9 Preface and Acknowledgements Thomas M. Messer 

iz Kandinsky: Russian and Bauhaus Years, 1915-1933 Clark V. Poling 
13 Kandinsky in Russia, 1915-1921 

36 Kandinsky at the Bauhaus in Weimar, 1922-1925 

56 Kandinsky at the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin, 1925-193 3 

85 Catalogue 

348 Chronology 

354 Selected Bibliography 

357 Index of Artists in the Catalogue 

358 Photographic Credits 


The name of Vasily Kandinsky, as lias been pointed out on previous occa- 
sions, is inextricably linked to the Guggenheim's history. More than that of 
any other artist, his work constitutes the core of the collection that Hilla 
Rebay assembled for her patron and for this institution, which was known 
as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting when it was created almost fifty 
years ago under the aegis of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. It is 
therefore quite natural that Kandinsky should remain a recurrent subject of 
investigation for us, the more so because his art and his theories continue to 
have distinctly contemporary implications. 

Kandinsky: Russian and Bauhaus Years, 1915-1933 thus becomes the 
second installment in a three-part exhibition project. It follows Kandinsky 
in Munich, curated in 1982 by Dr. Peg Weiss, and precedes Kandinsky in 
Paris, now under study by Christian Derouet. As originally conceived, the 
three parts of the project call for the participation of different individuals 
steeped in their respective areas of specialization. Together the scholars so 
involved should shed new light upon Kandinsky's ultimately unified cre- 
ative achievement. 

The current exhibition and this accompanying catalogue were entrusted 
to Dr. Clark V. Poling, Director, Emory University Museum of Art and 
Archaeology, Atlanta, and Associate Professor of Art History, who has de- 
voted exhaustive research to the Bauhaus period and in particular to Kan- 
dinsky's theoretical and pedagogical contributions. The three parts of Dr. 
Poling's essay dealing respectively with Kandinsky in Russia, Weimar and 
Dessau are close studies of Kandinsky's art and simultaneously offer guide- 
lines for the presentation of the selected objects. As in the first exhibition, the 
selection transcends Kandinsky's own oeuvre in order to stress the broader 
context of his thought and work in relation to that of other artists. 

In acknowledging the Guggenheim's great satisfaction with what ap- 
pears to be a perfect implementation of the trilogy's second part, Dr. Poling's 
contribution must be mentioned first. In doing so, we are aware that he 
wishes to share credit with colleagues who have made generous contributions. 

We are grateful to Dr. Hans M. Wingler, Director of the Bauhaus-Archiv 
in Berlin, and his associates Dr. Peter Hahn and Dr. Christian Wolsdorff for 
sharing important materials with Dr. Poling and for making essential loans 
available for the exhibition. Without the generous support from all levels 
within the Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
the present exhibition would not have been possible. In particular, we would 

like to thank Dominique Bozo, Germain Viatte, Christian Derouet and Jessica 
Boissel. One can hardly exaggerate our gratitude towards all those who acted 
either on their own behalf or for their institutions and have allowed us to 
include precious objects in their possession or custody in Kandinsky: Russian 
and Bauhaus Years. The lenders are listed individually elsewhere in this cata- 
logue, but here we would like to single out the following for special acknowl- 
edgement: Dr. Felix Baumann, Kunsthaus Zurich; Dr. Christian Geelhaar, 
Kunstmuseum Basel; Dr. Hans Christoph von Tavel, Kunstmuseum Bern; 
Dr. Werner Schmalenbach, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Diissel- 
dorf; William Rubin, John Elderfield and Cora Rosevear, The Museum of 
Modern Art, New York; Dr. Peter Beye, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Dr. Armin 
Zweite, Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Edy de Wilde, Ste- 
delijk Museum, Amsterdam; Alan Shestack, Yale University Art Gallery, New 
Haven; Ernst Beyeler, Galerie Beyeler, Basel; Antonina Gmurzynska, Galerie 
Gmurzynska, Cologne; and Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght. 

We are indebted to Dr. Charles W. Haxthausen, formerly of the Busch- 
Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, and currently Visiting 
Professor at Columbia University, for his advice during the early stages of this 
exhibition. Stephanie Barron, Max Bill, Jean K. Benjamin, Felix Klee and the 
late Hans K. Roethel and Philippe Sers were extremely helpful as well. 

Within the Guggenheim Museum, the same team that coordinated the 
first installment also took effective charge of the current show and the pro- 
duction of the catalogue. Thanks must be expressed to Vivian Endicott 
Barnett, the Guggenheim's Curator and coordinator of the three-part project, 
and Susan B. Hirschfeld, Assistant Curator, for their active involvement in 
all aspects of the project. Carol Fuerstein edited the catalogue and was as- 
sisted by Shara Wasserman in its production. Such summary credits fail to 
identify many other staff members who contributed their efforts and intel- 
ligence to a complex and time-consuming assignment. 

Vasily Kandinsky's associations during his long life were many, and each 
exhibition conjures up a veritable parade of now legendary contemporaries 
whose part in the artist's life is commemorated with his own. None of these 
personalities in the years reviewed here were closer to Kandinsky than his 
wife Nina, whose tragic death in 1980 took her from our midst. It is the 
unanimous wish of the Kandinsky Society, founded by Nina Kandinsky 
shortly before her death, that the exhibition Kandinsky: Russian and Bau- 
haus Years, 1915-1933 be dedicated to her memory. 


I salute Gudmund Vigtel, Dr. Felix Baumann and Dr. Hans M. Wingler, 
Directors, respectively, of The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the Kunsthaus 
Zurich and the Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin, the institutions to which this exhibi- 
tion will travel: thanks to their commitment to Kandinsky's art, it has been 
possible to extend the show beyond its initial presentation at the Guggenheim. 

It must, finally, not be forgotten that in these times of high costs and 
curtailed income, exhibition sponsorship is an essential part of museum 
programming. On behalf of this Foundation's Trustees and the Museum's 
staff I therefore extend the Guggenheim's deeply felt gratitude to the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, to the Federal Republic of Germany and 
to Lufthansa German Airlines for their contributions and support granted 
toward this exhibition project. 

Sponsorship from German sources is particularly appropriate since the 
years from 1921 to 1933 that constitute the key period treated in this show 
were spent by Kandinsky in German cities and also because the opening 
of the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum coincides with the tricentennial 
celebration of the founding of German-American relations. 

thomas m. messer, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 


YEARS, 1915-1933 

Clark V. Poling 

I would like to thank personally several 
people who were particularly important 
to my work on this exhibition: Thomas M. 
Messer for his continuing support and ad- 
vice at critical junctures during the plan- 
ning and Charles W. Haxthausen for 
suggesting the initial idea for the exhibi- 
tion and for many fruitful discussions dur- 
ing its conception. Hans M. Wingler, Peter 
Hahn and Christian Wolsdorff at the Bau- 
haus-Archiv, Berlin, have given me impor- 
tant assistance in my research for this 
project, as have Christian Derouet and 
Jessica Boissel at the Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris. Finally, Vivian Endicott Barnett and 
Susan B. Hirschfeld at the Guggenheim 
Museum not only have born the major re- 
sponsibility for the logistics of organizing 
the exhibition but also have been very 
helpful to me throughout the course of 
the undertaking. 

Framed and punctuated by tumultuous historic events, the nineteen years of 
Kandinsky's Russian and Bauhaus periods witnessed the First World War, 
the Russian and German revolutions, the economic and political upheavals 
of the Weimar period and the Nazis' assumption of power. Having developed 
prior to 1914 an expressionist abstraction, Kandinsky continued to create an 
art of inner content, albeit much changed stylistically, and his response to 
those great external occurrences is manifested only generally and in a limited 
number of works. In a politically charged environment, he was an apolitical 
artist producing essentially abstract work. However, the historical conditions 
led to the formation of the institutions in which Kandinsky participated 
actively and where he associated closely with fellow artists and designers. 
These circumstances, in turn, substantially affected the development of his 
theory and teaching and influenced his art. While not himself succumbing to 
the contemporary impulse toward utilitarian design, he devoted a great deal 
of effort to contributing to the objective theories of the elements of art and 
design sought by these institutions. The change in his own art to a geometric 
style was part of that striving for a universal formal language. In the face 
of recurring criticism of fine art and calls for social and practical function- 
ality, Kandinsky preserved his belief in the relevance of his art and teaching 
to a school of design and to the culture at large. Though he asserted the 
importance and utility of theory as a background to artistic creation, he felt 
that art depended ultimately on individual intuition, which found expression 
in his own work, in its formal complexity and richness of interrelationships. 
Because Kandinsky was involved with the artists and institutions of his 
time, the evidence of Russian avant-garde art and of the art and design that 
emanated from the Bauhaus throws much light on his receptivity to elements 
in his environment and on his contributions to that context. The greatly 
increased understanding in recent years of the ferment of artistic activity and 
innovation in Revolutionary Russia and the expanded knowledge of the 
fruitful interaction among masters and students, artists and designers at the 
Bauhaus have provided a new framework in which to view Kandinsky's ac- 
complishments. His paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints, mural proj- 
ects, designs for the stage and designs for porcelain represent a considerable 
range of artistic output. To this can be added his theoretical work and the 
products of his teaching, the numerous student color exercises, analytical 
drawings, free studies and paintings. Nineteen years is a substantial span of 
an artist's career, and within it can be seen a development marked by a 


series of large paintings that serve as milestones, a good many of which are 
included in this exhibition. The sequence of In Gray, 1919, Multicolored 
Circle, 1921, and Composition 8, 1923 (cat. nos. 25, 39, 147), shows the clari- 
fication of his previous Munich style in Russia and the development of geo- 
metric form and structure culminating in the Weimar period. Yellow-Red- 
Bltie, 1925 (cat. no. 196), exemplifies the succeeding phase in its richness and 
density of form, color and space. Several Circles, 1926 (cat. no. 188), is more 
tranquil and focuses on a narrower range of elements, prefiguring aspects of 
the later Dessau period. On Points, 1928 (cat. no. 247), presents a monumen- 
tal image, which is a depicted motif of abstract structures. Finally, Develop- 
ment in Brown, 1933 (cat. no. 314), is a somber and imposing summation of 
the evocative power of abstract imagery. Kandinsky's art of these years shows 
considerable range, formal multiplicity and variety of visual effects and 
references. It elicits our admiration not only for his assurance in composing 
the complex visual and expressive elements but also for his artistic ambition 
and assertion of creative independence in the midst of challenging circum- 
stances and frequently difficult times. 


Kandinsky's return to Russia in late 1914 was caused by the outbreak of the 
war, a disruption he felt keenly in his personal and artistic life. In his last 
letter from Munich to his dealer Herwarth Walden, he expressed his reaction 
to the onset of war and his imminent departure as an enemy alien: 

Now we have it! Isn't it frightful? It's as though I'm thrown out of a 
dream. I've been living inwardly in this period, assuming the complete 
impossibility of such events. I've been torn out of this illusion. Moun- 
tains of corpses, frightful agonies of the ?nost varied kind, inner culture 
set back for an indefinite time. 

. . . For the 16 years [sic] that I have lived in Germany I have devoted 
myself to the German Kunstleben [life of art]. How should I suddenly 
feel like a foreigner? 

. . . For the time being I'm waiting for the mobilization, and then where 
1. Letter or Aug. 2, 1914, Item 171, 

Sturm-Archiv, Staatsbibliorhek Preus- '° S°- 

sischer Kulrurbesirz (Handschriften- 

ahteilung), Berlin. This letter was written on August 2, 1914, the day after war was declared. 


2. Letter of Sept. 10, 1914, "Some Letters 
from Kandinsky to Klee" in Homage 
to Wassily Kandinsky, New York, 
1975, p. 131. English edition of 
"Centenaire de Kandinsky," XX e 
Steele, no. xxvii, Dec. 1966. 

The following day Kandinsky left Germany with his mistress Gabriele 
Miinter and traveled to Switzerland, where they remained until late No- 

They stayed in a villa at Goldach on Lake Constance, where Kandinsky 
worked on the theoretical material he later used in his hook Point and Line 
to Plane, and from this temporary vantage point he was able to take a more 
hopeful view of the war's eventual outcome. In a letter to his friend Paul 
Klee, he conveyed the belief held by many artists and intellectuals early in 
the war that a new age would be born of the conflagration: 

What happiness there will be when this horrible time is over. What will 
come afterwards? A great explosion, I believe, of the purest forces which 
will also carry us on to brotherhood. And likewise an equally great 
flowering of art, which must now remain hidden in dark corners. 2 

The anxiety and optimism revealed in these statements also found occasional 
expression in the works Kandinsky executed in the first years after he re- 
turned to Russia as well as during his sojourn in Stockholm in early 1916. 
Soon afterwards, in the early years of the Russian Revolution, with the offi- 
cial embrace of avant-garde art and the restructuring of cultural institutions, 
the new "brotherhood" and the "great flowering of art" must have seemed 
real possibilities. Kandinsky's energetic involvement in organizational activi- 
ties attests to his faith in those possibilities. For a few years he was part of 
that artistic community, exhibiting with his avant-garde colleagues. Further, 
his art and his pedagogical theories show that he responded, both positively 
and critically, to their artistic innovations. 

Viewed from the perspective of his entire career, the seven years Kan- 
dinsky spent in Russia occasioned a transition in his art, from the expression- 
ist abstraction of the immediately preceding Munich years to the geometric 
style of his Bauhaus period. A parallel shift in his theoretical work began to 
occur in Russia, as he increasingly emphasized the objective characteristics 
of formal elements and the principles of their use. This change was to be 
reflected in his teaching and writing at the Bauhaus from 192.2. to 1933. The 
new qualities in his painting are first seen in works from 1919 to 1921, which 
show a reduction of expressionist handling of forms and a gradual absorp- 
tion of the geometric elements and structural principles of Russian avant- 
garde art. At the same time, Kandinsky sought to maintain what he saw as 
artistic freedom and expressive content by preserving the complexity and 
some of the irregular forms and associative imagery of his earlier art. 

In the first two years after Kandinsky returned to Russia, until he painted 
a series of major works in September and October 1917, his art was tentative 
in character. That he executed no oil paintings in 1915 is indicative of the 
upheaval Kandinsky experienced in his life at this time. In spite of the ab- 
stract nature of the watercolors and drawings from this year, the absence 
of oils may also manifest a loss of resolve— as the appearance of seemingly 
retrogressive imagery in the following year and into 19 17 suggests. Water- 
colors from 191 5 retain the energetic brushwork and intense color that were 
stylistic features of the immediately preceding Munich years. In an untitled 


3. Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, 
Life and Work, New York, 1958, 

p. 164. 

4. "On the Artist" ("Om Konstnaren," 
Stockholm, 1916) in Kandinsky: 
Complete Writings on Art, Kenneth 
C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, eds., z 
vols., Boston, 1982, vol. 1., p. 409 
(hereafter referred to as Lindsay/ 
Vergo I or II). 

example (cat. no. 1), the dense, turbulent quality and predominance of 
black, used with bright, spectral colors, reflects Kandinsky's acutely felt 
sense of the war. On the other hand, a more lyrical expression is created 
in a second watercolor (cat. no. 1), with its luminous colors, more open 
distribution of forms and delicate lines. This broad range of technique char- 
acterizes the watercolors of the time and perhaps compensated Kandinsky 
for his lack of involvement in the more ambitious activity of painting in oils. 

Puzzling dichotomies of style are presented in 1916, as seen in the dry- 
point etchings and watercolors Kandinsky created in Stockholm in the first 
months of the year. This brief period was an interlude in the war years, 
when Kandinsky was joined by Gabriele Miinter and each were given exhi- 
bitions at Gummesons. Four of the six etchings from this time are abstract. 
Etching 1916— No. IV (cat. no. 5), is characteristic in its floating imagery, 
small scale and delicacy of line. The other two, however, are representa- 
tional images recalling the Biedermeier subjects— scenes of late nineteenth- 
century upper middle-class social leisure— Kandinsky occasionally depicted 
in the early years of the century in Munich. In Etching 19 16— No. /// (cat. no. 
4), this kind of imagery is embodied in the crinolined lady with a lorgnette 
and two top-hatted men on horseback who are set in a fanciful landscape 
that includes a Russian town with onion-domed towers in the background. 
The cluster of soldiers with lances in the mid-distance— a medieval element 
also drawn from Kandinsky's earlier work— introduces a reference to war 
in the otherwise pastoral setting. Biedermeier motifs were also treated in the 
eighteen watercolors done in 1915 and 1916 that Kandinsky called bagatelles 
or trifles, an example of which is Picnic of February 1916 (cat. no. 8). Here 
the subject matter is idyllic but the extremely tipped composition and the 
elongated, spindly forms create a feeling of instability, which this work shares 
with Etching 1916—N0. Ill and its watercolor study (cat. no. 3). Though, as 
Will Grohmann suggested, a major reason for the choice of representational 
imagery must have been its saleability— most of these works were bought by 
the art dealer Gummeson— Kandinsky probably also intended an underlying 
message. 3 The tottering world depicted in delicate spring-like colors in Picnic 
or given a more threatening aspect in the etching conveys Kandinsky's sense of 
the war and his faith in a renewal to come. He declared this belief in his 
essay, "On the Artist," published as a brochure by Gummeson and dated the 
same month as Picnic. He spoke of a "new spring .... The time of awaken- 
ing, resolution, regeneration ... a time of sweeping upheaval." 4 Such a vision 
represents the continuation of the apocalyptic themes of Kandinsky's Munich 
years, and it is not surprising therefore to encounter once again the image of 
Trumpeting Angels (cat. no. 6), in a drawing also dating from early 1916". 

The major picture that survives from this sojourn in Stockholm is Paint- 
ing on Light Ground (cat. no. 9), which in many of its stylistic features 
develops the landscape-derived abstract imagery of Kandinsky's later Munich 
years. These elements include the free brushwork and loosely defined bound- 
aries of the forms, which give the work a dynamic improvisatory quality. 
There is a great range in color: black and white, light gray, brown, pale pri- 
mary and secondary hues, as well as brighter spectral colors. The space is 


5. See his analyses following the essay 
"Reminiscences" ("Riickblicke") in 
Kandinsky, 1901-1913, Berlin, 19 13, 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 383 ff.; in the 
Cologne Lecture, 1914, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, esp. p. 397; and in his Let- 
ters to Arthur Jerome Eddy, 1914, 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, esp. p. 403. 

6. "Painting as Pure Art" ("Malerei als 
reine Kunst," Der Sturm, 1913), 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 353. 

7. "Stupeni" in Tekst kbudozbnika 
("Steps" in Text of the Artist), 
Moscow, 1918, with the title To a 
Certain Voice (Odnotnn Golosu),. 
dated simply "16"; reproduced in 
Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Paris-Moscou, 1900-1930, exh. cat., 
I 979> P- i 2 4i as "Composition J, 
Les Voi.x," watercolor, 31 x 10.8 
cm., Pushkin Museum, Moscow, and 
p. 514. 

8. Nina Kandinsky, Kandinsky und ich, 
Munich, 1976, pp. 12-16. September 
1916 was the date of their first actual 
meeting, the phone conversation 
having occurred the previous May. 

ambiguous: overlapping modulated planes recede toward the center, but the 
intense coloration opposes this effect. Furthermore, the loose definition of 
shapes and the alternation of bands of light and dark interrelate areas and 
complicate the spatial reading. The result is a rich interweaving of the parts 
of the composition. Preliminary drawings (cat. nos. 10, 11) that reveal Kan- 
dinsky's pictorial thinking have survived for this canvas, as they do for some 
of the Munich works. The arrows in the more rudimentary sketch— schematic 
elements seen also in earlier compositional diagrams— indicate the predom- 
inant upward thrust and counterbalancing downward movement in the pic- 
ture. The drawings also show compositional devices he had discussed in an- 
alyses written in the later Munich years of some of his own paintings: the 
use of two or three "centers" to the left and right of the actual midpoint of 
the picture and the placement of a heavy "weight" at the top. 5 He employed 
these features to avoid a static, hierarchical composition and create a dy- 
namic, unstable effect. The upward movement of the forms and the color 
scheme, with its delicately tinted light gray border and placement of bright 
colors in the upper part of the picture, give Painting on Light Ground a pos- 
itive, assertive mood, appropriate to Kandinsky's vision of a "new spring." 

The living, organic character of this painting is embodied in one of its 
most important features, the light gray border that occasioned its title. Kan- 
dinsky first developed this device in Painting with White Border of 191 3, 
where it evolved after he pondered for months the pictorial problems of the 
earlier stages of the work. During his Russian period it became an important 
compositional motif, as the several paintings with titles including the words 
"oval" or "border" attest. The drawings for Painting on Light Ground sug- 
gest a progressive manipulation of the form of the border, and in the painting 
its contour creates an effect of pressure and partial release in relation to the 
composition within. Though the border serves as the ground alluded to in the 
title, it also is an outer enframement, which acts as the first of a series of 
spatial planes. This work thus epitomizes the complexity of what Kandinsky 
called pure "compositional painting." 6 

Two smaller works from 1916 warrant mention, as Kandinsky thought 
they were important enough to have them reproduced, on facing pages, in 
the Russian edition of "Reminiscences," 1918. 7 The watercolor "To the Un- 
knoivn Voice" dated September 1916 (cat. no. 13), is a somewhat smaller 
version of one of those reproduced in the book. The personal meaning of the 
title has been explained by Nina Kandinsky, who related the story of her 
first encounter with her future husband, through a telephone call, when he 
became intrigued by the sound of the voice of this adolescent girl, whom he 
would marry the following February. 8 "To the Unknown Voice" is marked by 
a density of black lines characteristic of some of the watercolors from early 
in the Russian period, as well as a floating quality that was further developed 
in subsequent years. Here the sense of floating is created by the tipped axes 
and use of pale washes surrounding the image. The second watercolor is 
Simple (cat. no. 14), which is so stark in its clear forms and linear armature 
that it prefigures works from the very end of Kandinsky's Russian period. 
Discrete shapes and clear, dramatic structure are features that Kandinsky 


fig. I 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Twilight. September 1917 


Oil on canvas 

Collection Russian Museum, Leningrad 

9. See White Oval (Black Border), 1919 
(HL zzo), Tretiakov Gallery, Mos- 
cow (fig. 5). 

was to develop in his full-scale paintings beginning in 1919 to 1920. 9 In the 
watercolor the ovoid and triangular shapes, while not truly geometric, are 
nearly flat and thus planar in their presentation. The drawing in black lines, 
assured and energetic, brings to the level of a finished work the diagrammatic 
sketches of the Munich years, where diagonal axes connected disparate pic- 
torial "centers." 

The year of Russia's revolutions, of February and late October 1917, 
occasioned a series of major paintings by Kandinsky, all of which have re- 
mained in the Soviet Union. They were executed during September and 
October, and several have a menacing quality conveyed by darkened sky or 
somber background. This feeling is also communicated in the bizarre mask- 
like image hovering in the upper part of the work entitled Twilight (fig. 1). A 
somewhat similar image appears in a drawing dated October 24, 1917 (cat. 
no. 17), the very eve of the storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd and 
the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution. Representational motifs from the 
Munich period, such as storm-tossed boats with oarsmen, toppling hilltop 
cities and landscape elements, were reintroduced in these pictures. At an 
abstract level, the works possess a forceful clarity, with forms coalesced 
into shapes defined by thick outlines often drawn in black pigment. 

The recapitulation of a composition from the Munich period, Small 
Pleasures of 1913 (fig. 2), in the Russian painting Blue Arch (Ridge) (fig. 3), 
is a fuller instance of Kandinsky's return to personal motifs of the earlier 
time and his reworking of them in the more decisive style of 1917. The im- 
portance to him of this image first painted in 1913 is further indicated by 
the fact that he reinterpreted it once again in Weimar, in Reminiscence of 


fig. 2 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Small Pleasures. June 1913 

(HL 174) 

Oil on canvas 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 

fig- 3 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Blue Arch (Ridge). September 19 17 

(HL 110) 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Russian Museum, Leningrad 

10. The changes and additions in the 
Russian edition are indicated in 
"Editors' Notes," Lindsay/Vergo, II, 
pp. 887-897- 

1924. The Russian allusions in the architecture atop the hill in Blue Arch 
(Ridge) are expanded in the untitled painting referred to as Red Square 
(fig. 4). As the related drawing (cat. no. 15) also shows, the composition 
includes the onion-domed towers of Moscow, taller, modern buildings and 
smokestacks, as well as a picturesque pair of observers on a hilltop in the 
foreground. This imagery expresses Kandinsky's fondness for the city, of 
which he had written most nostalgically in 1913 in his "Reminiscences." 
In the 1918 Russian edition of this essay, he increased the number of Rus- 
sian references, including those to Moscow, and so his allegiance to his 
native country was reflected at this time in both pictorial and literary forms. 10 
The liveliness of color and formal manipulation in Red Square are char- 
acteristic of Kandinsky's work in general and are in marked contrast to the 
rather matter-of-fact late Impressionism of the city views he painted from 
this studio window around 1919-20 (see cat. no. 29). 

From after October 1917 until the middle of 1919 Kandinsky executed no 
oil paintings, as he was intensely occupied instead with a variety of organi- 
zational, pedagogical and editorial activities related to the drastic revamping 
of cultural institutions and programs under the People's Commissariat for 
Enlightenment (Narkompros) established by the new Revolutionary govern- 
ment. Surviving watercolors and drawings from 1918 show some of his on- 
going artistic concerns, the most important of which are the persistence of 
landscape imagery and his developing interest in the border. Both features 
had been seen in the last painting of 1917, Gray Oval, which was executed 
in October. As the watercolor sketch for this work (cat. no. iS) reveals, the 
triangular projections at the bottom of the central landscape, together with 
the black background, make the image in the oval seem to float. This height- 
ens the effect of the detachment of the image from the stable rectangular 
periphery of the picture. Even when the border is not complete, as in two 
interesting untitled watercolors from January and March 19 18 (cat. nos. 20, 


fig- 4 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Red Square. 1917 

Oil on board 

Collection Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow 

11. A somewhat earlier example of a 
composition meant to be read from 
all sides is the watercolor Untitled 
("Ceiling"), Oct. 1916 (cat. no. 11), 
that, from the evidence of the inscrip- 
tion on the back, seems to be a de- 
sign for a ceiling. The inscribed word, 
in Cyrillic, is "Plafond." 

11. See his Munich-period statements 
concerning his paintings cited in note 
5, esp. Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 397, 402. 

zi), this element contributes crucially to freeing the composition from secure 
pictorial moorings. The feeling of floating is enhanced in these works by the 
orientation of some landscape features toward what seems to be the bottom 
of the composition, or toward its side. Thus the picture can be turned upside 
down or on end and still read correctly, for the most part. 11 The rotational 
character of the images frees them from the law of natural gravity, a libera- 
tion that was an important aspect of the attempt to create a modern sense of 
space, as seen in El Lissitzky's slightly later work. 

Red Border (cat. no. 24), one of the first of the series of paintings from 
1919, bears interesting comparison with Fainting on Light Ground of early 
1916, as it is similar in size and vertical format. The border in the later work 
is broader, more fluid and assured, and the forms are clearer and more solidly 
colored, with the recurrent triangular shapes indicative of a developing sense 
of informal geometry. The more active role of the "rim" or "border"— the 
Russian obod of Kandinsky's title can be translated by either word— shows 
the artist's increased awareness of this pictorial feature, here painted in 
a sequence of red and green irregular bands. Typically, its ovoid shape rounds 
off the corners of the picture. But the oval format is not used here to resolve 
some relative weakness or unimportance of the corners, as it was in Analytic 
Cubist works. There the focus on a central area devoted to a figural or still- 
life motif tended to leave the corners unaccented and potentially problem- 
atic. Kandinsky had long stressed the corners, in keeping with his desire to 
avoid a central focus and instead to activate diverse quadrants of the pic- 
ture. 12 Strong forms frequently occupy one or more of the corners, and 
diagonals often emerge from or point toward them. In the pictures with 
ovoid borders, abrupt changes in hue or value, the inclusion of a small dis- 
tinct shape or the invasion of the corners by forms from the central area 
prevent the periphery from becoming a neutral frame. Spatially, the borders 
contribute to the floating quality of the compositions. In conjunction with a 


fig- 5 

Vasily Kandinsky 

White Oval (Black Border). 1919 

(HL 220) 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow 

13. Regarding a similar derivation from 
the bagatelles, see Art Gallery of New 
South Wales, Vasily Kandinsky (1866- 
1944); A selection from The Solomon 
R. Guggenheim Museum and The 
Hilla von Rebay Foundation, exh. 
cat., 1982, p. 36. 

14. In a letter of July 4, 1936, to Hilla 
von Rebay, Kandinsky wrote, "In 
Gray is the conclusion of my 'dra- 
matic' period, that is, of the very 
thick accumulation of so many 
forms": The Hilla von Rebay Foun- 
dation Archive, The Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Museum, New York. 

dark background in the central area, they set up a spatial recession in the 
composition, as in Gray Oval and Red Border. In White Oval (Black Border), 
1919 (fig. 5), and Green Border, 1920 (see cat. no. 34), on the other hand, 
the light central background and brightly colored forms create the illusion 
of hovering in front of the border. 

The tendency toward more solid and defined planar forms is developed 
in In Gray, 1919 (cat. no. 25), an extraordinarily complex composition re- 
plete with idiosyncratic forms. One of the largest of Kandinsky's Russian 
works, it brings together an abstract landscape of precipitous hills carried 
over from the Munich period, fanciful elongated forms derived from the 
bagatelles, and an incipient geometry. 13 Constellations of these forms float 
and turn in a complex spatial layering, the ambient provided by the loosely 
painted gray background. The overall effect is both somber and turbulent. 
Comparison of the painting with the preliminary drawing and watercolor 
(cat. nos. 26, 27) shows that Kandinsky started with an array of individual 
shapes, including motifs such as the boat and oarsmen, that become more 
hieroglyphic in the final work. Others, such as the biomorphic forms in the 
center of the watercolor, are more descriptively rendered in the oil. The 
watercolor study is especially important in the evolution of the composition, 
as it introduces a series of large abstract shapes that underlie the smaller 
forms and bring greater order and visual impact to the painting. With its 
welter of interpenetrating and melding forms and variety of allusions, In 
Gray is Kandinsky's last ambitious effort to perpetuate the rich and myster- 
ious complexity he had first developed in his last Munich years. 14 


In 1920 and 1921, the two years following the execution of In Gray, 
Kandinsky painted an extraordinary series of pictures, which were an asser- 
tion both of his own gradual artistic evolution and of his position vis-a-vis 
the Russian avant-garde. Since the Revolution and the subsequent founding 
of the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros, Kandinsky had 
been deeply involved in organizational and educational activities, working 
closely with leading members of the avant-garde. His writings from 1919 
through 1921 treat both the subjective, expressive function of art and the 
objective analysis of formal elements and structure. In his autobiographical 
statement "Self-Characterization," published in June 1919 in Germany but 
apparently written for a projected Russian Encyclopedia of Fine Arts, Kan- 
dinsky reasserted concepts he had developed in Munich: the principle of 
"inner necessity" as the basis of art and the characterization of the new era 
in world culture as "the Epoch of the Great Spiritual." 15 In his Program for 
the Institute of Artistic Culture (Inkhuk), presented in June 1920, he empha- 
sized objective investigations of artistic elements; however, he also stated his 
opinions about the limitations of scientific inquiry and purely formal con- 
struction in art, as well as his belief in the essentially subconscious nature 
of true discovery in this realm. 

Subsequently, in an interview in July 1921, he explicitly criticized the 
principal members of the Russian avant-garde for ignoring content in art: 

Instead of creating paintings, works, one makes experiments. One prac- 
tices experimental art in laboratories. I think these are two different 
things. People paint black on black, white on white. Color evenly ap- 
plied, skillfully handled. Those who paint in that way say that they are 
experimenting and that painting is the art of putting a form on the 
canvas so that it looks as if it had been glued to the canvas. Yet it is im- 
possible to paste black on yellow without the eye tearing it from the 



15. "Self-Characterization" ("Selbstcha- 
rakteristik," Das Kunstblatt, 1919), 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 431-433. 

16. Interview with Charles-Andre Julien 
("Une Interview de Kandinsky en 
1921," Revue de I' Art, 1969), Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, p. 476. 

Thus he countered the proponents of the avant-garde with a reference to the 
perceptual, psychological effect of color, which creates an illusionary space. 
This is not only a telling indication of Kandinsky's continuing concern with 
spatial imagery in his own art, but also a statement of his contention that 
the relativistic character of the visual elements makes artistic composition 
an inherently intuitive process. This was his consistent belief from the Mu- 
nich period to the end of his career. 

To view Kandinsky's Red Oval of 1920 (cat. no. 33) in the light of his 
writings of these years reveals this painting as a conscious statement of his 
artistic principles, in response to the art of his Russian contemporaries. The 
large-scale yellow quadrilateral that dominates the composition is a tra- 
pezium—a four-sided figure with no two sides parallel. This form was a 
Suprematist emblem, used by Kazimir Malevich from 1915 and by his fol- 
lowers. It is seen especially in the paintings and graphics of Liubov Popova, 
who used it as a cover design for Sitpremus (cat. no. 60), the proposed pub- 
lication of the Society of Painters Supremus. Other members of this group 


fig. 6 
Ivan Kliun 

Untitled, ca. 1917 

Oil on paper 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

17. Kandinsky commented on variations 
in facture in his "Program for the In- 
stitute of Artistic Culture" ("Pro- 
gramma Instituta Khudozhestvennoi 
Kultury," Moscow, 1920), Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, p. 461; and in "The Mu- 
seum of the Culture of Painting" 
("Muzei zhivopisnoi kul'tury," 
Khndozbestvennaia Zhizn', 1910), 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 441. 

18. "Program for the Institute of Ar- 
tistic Culture," Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 

19. "Little Articles on Big Questions: . . . 
On Line" ("Malen'kie stateiki o 
bol'shim voprosam: . . . O linii," 
Iskusstvo: Vestnik Otdela IZO NKP, 
1919), Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 425-426. 

who employed the form include Ivan Kliun (fig. 6) and Nadezhda Udaltsova. 
In itself, the figure has strong though contradictory spatial implications, as if 
it were a rectangle or square seen at an angle in space. By placing this Su- 
prematist plane against a richly modulated green background and superim- 
posing on it a variety of idiosyncratic forms, themselves modeled, Kandinsky 
appropriated it to his own ambiguous atmospheric space. Other shapes, 
notably the central red oval and the triangular forms, have a geometric 
clarity, but many are freely invented, and some, such as the tipped boat hull 
and long, diagonal oar at the left, are allusive, personal signs. The central 
complex of forms builds out toward the viewer, while around the edge of 
the quadrilateral certain elements recede into the green background. Further- 
more, varied techniques of paint application are used: the yellow plane and 
red oval, for example, are relatively flat and solidly painted, while other 
areas are freely brushed or even coarsely stippled. 17 In texture, spatial effect 
and formal imagery, therefore, the painting is a testament to artistic freedom 
and complexity. 

The vocabulary of points or dots, lines and planes in Red Oval is a 
visual elaboration of the formal categories indicated in Kandinsky's "Little 
Articles on Big Questions: On Point; On Line," of 1919, and in his Program 
for Inkhuk. These publications and the Inkhuk Questionnaire of 1920 (cat. 
no. 44), which elicted responses concerning the effects of abstract colors and 
forms, cited the graphic elements: points and spots, straight and angled lines, 
geometric curved and freer lines, the basic geometric shapes and free forms. 
However, Kandinsky clearly announced himself on the side of the free, non- 
schematic handling of forms in the service of expression. In the Inkhuk Pro- 
gram he warned that even though the focus might for the moment be on 
"problems of construction," one must avoid the danger of accepting "the 
engineer's answer as the solution for art." 18 In his earlier article "On Line," 
he commented more explicitly on geometric forms: 

The graphic ivork that speaks by means of these forms belongs to the 
first sphere of graphic language— a language of harsh, sharp expressions 
devoid of resilience and complexity . . . [a] sphere of draftsmanship, with 
. . . limited means of expression. . . . 

There then follows the line's first-ever liberation from that most primi- 
tive of measurement , the rider. 

The clatter of the falling ruler speaks loudly of total revolution. It acts 
as a signal for us to enter the second world, the world of free graphics. 19 

These remarks represent a response to the geometry that dominated the work 
of many of Kandinsky's Russian contemporaries. Yet the evidence of Red 
Oval and other pictures from the end of his Russian period indicates that 
Kandinsky evolved a more complex and ambivalent position. It is clear from 
his Inkhuk Program and Questionnaire that he embraced geometric elements 
as prime material for the analytical investigation of artistic principles. In his 
art, furthermore, geometric form came to play an increasingly important 
role, as he found ways to use it freely enough to integrate it into his devel- 
oping artistic language. Thus Kandinsky picked up the dropped ruler and 


fig- 7 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Picture with Points. 1919 

(HL 123) 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Russian Museum, Leningrad 

the compass as well, though he did not consistently use the precise forms 
they generated until his years in Weimar. 

Geometry did not have a major role in the pictures that immediately 
followed Red Oval, though it does play a small part in works such as Green 
Border (see cat. no. 34) and Points (cat. no. 35), both of 1920. It is interesting 
that the latter is a virtual replica, only very slightly reduced in size, of a work 
of the preceding year, Picture with Points (fig. 7), made soon after the original 
was sold to the Russian Museum in Petrograd. The oval, circular, triangular 
and striped forms are somewhat more regular in the second version. More- 
over, in the later work the sense of detachment of the central area from the 
periphery and the resultant floating quality are stronger, an effect enhanced 
by the lightened background. 

The strongly accented corners of Points and the use of the green border 
in the immediately preceding picture anticipate compositional concerns 
Kandinsky explored in two interesting works that followed. In "White Stroke 
(cat. no. 36) the corners are diagonally truncated, creating an enframing set 
of brownish gray triangles. As in the pictures with borders, one can read 
the central field as a shape in itself— here a truncated diamond. (The alter- 
native use of "border" and "oval" in the titles of the works with borders 
indicates the ambiguous figure-ground relationship in this series.) The white 
central area again functions both as a space and as a defined shape in Red 
Spot II (cat. no. 37). Here the trapezium seen first in Red Oval seems to have 
grown so that its corners exceed the limits of the picture's edges. The formal 
integrity of the central shape is strengthened by its relatively uniform white 
and the varying color and texture of the four corners. Unstably placed itself, 
this white field supports a pinwheel-like set of forms that appears to rotate 
around the center of the canvas. 

Even more than Red Oval, Red Spot 11 signals a new kind of imagery in 
Kandinsky's art. The visual metaphor and structural principles of land- 
scape are here abandoned. The sense of freedom from gravity is complete. 
The forms are either geometric— circles and triangles— or clearly defined in- 
vented ones. Thus this work represents a more complete transition from 
abstraction based on nature to nonobjectivity. Some degree of association 
with nature still exists: an allusion to bodies turning and floating in a sky- 
like or celestial realm. In this regard, it is an imagery resembling that of 
Malevich's Suprematist paintings. Though landscape allusions reappear in 
subsequent pictures by Kandinsky, they occur in more abstract form than in 
previous works. In White Center, 1921 (cat. no. 38), for example, such images 
are schematized and rendered weightless, disposed so that they seem to float 
against a light background, and the sense of gravity is destroyed by suspend- 
ing the forms above the lower edge of the canvas. 

Multicolored Circle, 1921 (cat. no. 39), stands as the most developed ex- 
ample of the nonobjectivity achieved through clarified and geometricized 
form in Kandinsky's Russian period, in spite of the recurrence of the per- 
sonal motif of sailboats at the right side of the picture. The dominant triangle 
and overlapping circle in the center are pure geometric forms that overcome 
associations with mountain and sun. Together with the two large, irregular 


fig- 8 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Study for "Circles on Black." 1921 
Pencil on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

20. A noteworthy exception is Popova's 
two-sided painting Dynamic Con- 
struction/Painterly Architectonics, 
ca. 1917-18 and 1918-19, Tretiakov 
Gallery, Moscow, which measures 
159 x 125 cm.; see Angelica Zander 
Rudenstine, ed., The George Cos- 
takis Collection: Russian Avant- 
Garde Art, New York, 1981, figs. 828, 

21. Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 425. 

22. Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 476. 

23. "Correspondence from Munich" 
("Korrespondentsiia iz Miunkhena," 
Mir Iskusstva, 1902), Lindsay/Vergo, 
1, pp. 45-51; "Letters from Munich" 
("Pis'mo iz Miunkhena," Apollon, 
1909-10), Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 54-80. 

quadrilaterals and the prominent diagonals, these shapes create a series of 
overlapping, vertically positioned planes parallel to the picture plane. In 
the shallow space between the pale blue background and the pair of diagonals 
at the left, the forms seem to float and rise, moving centrifugally or radiating 
from the midpoint of the lower edge. The underlying geometry and planarity 
of this picture testify to Kandinsky's absorption of Suprematism, but the 
complexities of contour and modulation, detail, space and movement reveal 
the work as an assertion of his own artistic personality. Like Red Spot II, this 
is a monumental composition, well over twice the size of the largest paintings 
of his Russian contemporaries such as Malevich and Alexander Rodchenko. 20 
Kandinsky's synthetic approach to abstract imagery and the variety of com- 
positional solutions manifested in the paintings of his last year in Russia are 
not, therefore, evidence of a lack of artistic certainty, but rather, of an active 
and ambitious development of his own art. 

The last three pictures of Kandinsky's Russian period, White Oval, 
Circles on Black and Black Spot, are assertions of a free handling of geom- 
etry and irregular abstract forms. With its centralized composition of overlap- 
ping planes. White Oval (cat. no. 40) restates in clarified terms the imagery of 
Red Oval. The trapezium is replaced by several freely contoured planes ar- 
ranged in an advancing series, a much more clearly established spatial se- 
quence than that in the earlier work. The nature-derived shapes in Red Oval 
are superceded by nonobjective forms that range from precise geometric 
figures to freer and more organic variations. Circles on Black (cat. no. 42) 
also utilizes a geometric term in its title, but irregularities of contour and 
idiosyncratic shapes abound. The image is, for the most part, planetary, with 
the addition of a mask-like form and references to a cluster of buildings in 
the upper left, as well as insect-like creatures at the right in the lower part of 
the picture. These allusions, which are more legible in the preparatory draw- 
ing at the Musee National d'Art Moderne (fig. 8), reaffirm the expressive po- 
tential of fanciful, personally invented elements within an abstract imagery. 

Black Spot (cat. no. 41) revives an expressionist looseness of drawing on 
a large scale. The thinly painted white background, faintly tinted with blue 
and yellow near the edges, makes the space seem to breathe and allows the 
constellation of black lines and spots and the colored shapes and halations 
to hover on or near the picture plane. In its combination of precise and ir- 
regular circular forms, Black Spot brings to mind Kandinsky's statement in 
his article "On Line" of 1919: 

The point is . . . able to increase its size ad infinitum and becomes the 
spot. Its subsequent and ultimate potential is that of changing its con- 
figuration, whereby it passes from the purely mathematical form of a 
bigger or smaller circle to forms of infinite flexibility and diversity, far 
removed from the diagrammatic. 21 

For Kandinsky this development meant a liberation from strict geometry 
and the possibility of expressive freedom. 

Thus the major works of 1920 and 1921 constitute a remarkable series 
of statements about formal qualities and their uses in pictorial composition. 


24- Concerning Kandinsky's contacts 
with Russian art during his Munich 
period and his activities in Russia 
during the Revolutionary period, see 
Troels Andersen, "Some Unpublished 
Letters by Kandinsky," Artes: Peri- 
odical of the Fine Arts, vol. II, Oct. 
1966, pp. 90-110; John E. Bowlt and 
Rose-Carol Washton Long, eds., The 
Life of Vasilii Kandinsky in Russian 
Art: A Study of "On the Spiritual in 
Art," Newtonville, Massachusetts, 
1980; and Jelena Hahl-Koch, "Kan- 
dinsky's Role in the Russian Avant- 
Garde" in Los Angeles County 
Museum of Art, The Avant-Garde in 
Russia, 1910-1930: New Perspectives, 
exh. cat., 1980, pp. 84-90; see also 
John E. Bowlt, "Chronology" in 
Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, pp. 
500 ff. 

That Kandinsky did not sympa- 
thize with the more rebellious activi- 
ties of the early avant-garde may be 
deduced from his objections to the 
tone of the Futurist anthology A Slap 
in the Face of Public Taste, Moscow, 

1912, in which four of his poems 
from Sounds (Klange) were published 
without his permission; see his 
"Letter to the Editor," Russkoe Sloi'O, 

1913, Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 347. 

25. It it noteworthy that watercolors by 
Goncharova, Larionov and Malevich 
exhibited in the second Blaue Reiter 
exhibition, 1912, as well as a painting 
by Goncharova were owned by Kan- 
dinsky. They are now part of the 
Kandinsky Bequest at the Musee 
National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris. 

26. "O dukhovnorm v iskusstve" in 
Trudy Vserossiiskago sezda khudozh- 
nikov, Petrograd, 1914; translated by 
John E. Bowlt in Bowlt and Long, 
pp. 63-112. 

Created on a large scale, the paintings are an affirmation of what Kandinsky 
saw as his important position in the avant-garde. "I founded abstract paint- 
ing," he asserted as he discussed current artistic tendencies in the interview 
of 1921. In the face of ideological conflicts about the nature and usefulness 
of art, he declared by his own artistic practice his belief in the continuing 
validity of pure painting that utilized a complex formal vocabularly to ex- 
pressive ends. Kandinsky was aware of a new attitude in his works of these 
years. As he said in the 192.1 interview: 

. . . [after the Revolution] I painted in a totally different manner. I felt 
within myself great peace of soul. Instead of the tragic, something peace- 
ful and organized. The color in my work became brighter and more 
attractive, in place of the previous deep and somber shades. 21 

Bright colors and clarity of shape and structure, seen as early as 19 19 in 
White Oval (Black Border) (fig. 5), predominate in the paintings of 1920 
and 1921. These characteristics convey Kandinsky's confidence in himself 
as an artist, in the midst of heady and tumultuous events, which within the 
Russian avant-garde involved criticism and rejection of his art and ideas. 

Kandinsky's Role in the Russian Avant-Garde 

During the nearly two decades of his Munich period, Kandinsky had 
maintained contact with artistic developments in Russia. He had published 
numerous articles in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa and traveled fre- 
quently to his native country, exhibiting there regularly as well. One of his 
earliest essays appeared in 1902 in Mir Iskusstva (World of Art), Diaghilev's 
journal in St. Petersburg, and this contribution is indicative of his sympa- 
thetic relationship to the Russian Symbolists with whom the World of Art 
group was closely linked. His ties to Russia were strengthened by his writing 
a series of five "Letters from Munich" for the St. Petersburg journal Apollon 
from 1909 to 1910. 23 The exhibitions he contributed to during these years 
were important ones, in which other members of the Russian avant-garde 
also participated: for instance, those of the Moscow Association of Artists 
from 1900 to 1908 and in 1911; Vladimir Izdebsky's International Salon in 
Odessa in 1909 and 19 10; and the Jack of Diamonds exhibitions in Moscow 
in 1910 and 1912. 24 In Munich, furthermore, Kandinsky's work on the two 
Blaue Reiter exhibitions and the almanac in 1911 and 1912 showed his keen 
interest in the art of his Russian contemporaries. He included the Burliuk 
brothers, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova and Malevich in the ex- 
hibitions, and the almanac contained several Russian contributions among 
its articles and illustrations. 25 

Kandinsky's most important publication in Russian was the somewhat 
abbreviated version of On the Spiritual in Art, presented first as a lecture 
by the Futurist Nikolai Kul'bin at the All-Russian Congress of Artists in 
St. Petersburg in December 1911, the same month the book was published 
in Munich. This Russian version was printed in the transactions of the Con- 
gress, which appeared in October 1914. 26 Thus Kandinsky's major theoret- 


fig- 9 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Elementary Life of the Primary Color and 
Its Dependence on the Simplest Locale. 
Illustration no. 4 to Russian text of On the 
Spiritual in Art, 1914, see cat. no. 315 

17. Nina Kandinsky, pp. 80-81. 

18. Ibid., pp. 17-18. 

ical statement from the Munich years was available to Russian readers. Its 
basis in Western and Russian Symbolism is revealed in its thesis that an, 
created by a mysterious process involving inner responses to colors and 
forms, contributes to the spiritual growth that Kandinsky believed would 
characterize culture in the modern era. At the same time, his many remarks 
about the expressive and perceptual effects of visual elements, based on his 
readings in psychology and his own investigations, laid the foundation for 
the more objective components of his theories and pedagogy in the Russian 
and Bauhaus years. Of particular interest in this regard is the color illustra- 
tion of a chart by Kandinsky, Elementary Life of the Primary Color and Its 
Dependence on the Si?nplest Locale (fig. 9), included in the Russian publi- 
cation. This diagram, which had not appeared in the German edition, shows 
the effects of different backgrounds on colors. It also demonstrates the cor- 
respondence of the basic colors and forms, a concept that Kandinsky empha- 
sized in his Program and Questionnaire for Inkhuk and later at the Bauhaus. 
The stark geometric image, in primary colors and black and white, antici- 
pates the formal vocabulary of the Suprematists, though its strictly didactic 
function distinguishes it from their usage of such forms in self-sufficient 
works of art. 

With the coming of the Revolution, Kandinsky's social class, age and 
point of view set him apart from other members of the avant-garde, though 
these factors did not prevent his full-scale involvement in the new activities 
taking place in the arts. He was fifty years old in 191^, eleven years older 
than Malevich and twenty to twenty-five years older than the other leading 
artists of the period. Son of a wealthy tea merchant, Kandinsky owned 
an apartment building and other properly in Moscow until their expropria- 
tion following the Revolution. 2 " His background notwithstanding, he had a 
generally liberal social outlook and, according to his wife Xina, greeted the 
Revolution of February 191- and the abdication of the Czar with cautious 
optimism. 28 Thereafter, when the Bolsheviks instituted their sweeping cul- 
tural reorganization, Kandinsky took a very active role. He of course already 
had extensive experience in organizational, pedagogical, editorial and exhi- 
bition activities in Munich, as a leading member of Phalanx, the Neue Kitnst- 
lervereinigung Muncben (New Artists' Society of Munich) and the Plane 
Reiter. His participation in the newly formed organizations meant putting 
these skills at the service of the new society during the Utopian early years 
of the Revolution. 

The range of his endeavors is very impressive and indeed equal to that 
of any of his Russian contemporaries. Starting in January 1918, at the invi- 
tation of Vladimir Tatlin, he became a member of the Visual Arts Section 
(IZO) of the People's Commissariat for Enlightenment (Narkompros or 
XKP , the department that directed programs in education, research, mu- 
seums and publications in the arts. Subsequently Kandinsky taught at the 
Svomas (Free State Art Studios 1 in Moscow, where he was head of a studio, 
and directed the theater and film section of IZO NKP. The latter activity is 
indicative of his continuing interest in the relationships among the various 
arts, and indeed their potential synthesis. These ideas were expressed in his 


29. In Izobrazitel'noe Iskusstvo, 1919 
(see Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 881, note 
14); "On Stage Composition" (Uber 
Biihnenkomposition," Der Blaue 
Reiter, Munich, 1914), Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, pp. 257-265. 

30. Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 455-472. 

article "On Stage Composition" of 1912, which he republished in Russian 
at this time. 29 Further areas of involvement were the International Bureau of 
IZO— in connection with which he made contacts with German artists' 
groups and Bauhaus director Walter Gropius— and the Commission on the 
Organization of the Museums of Painterly Culture— under whose aegis he 
helped organize and arrange acquisitions for museums in Moscow and other 
Russian cities. 

These associations brought him into close contact with many of the 
leading artists of the period, some of whose work bore particular relevance 
to his subsequent development, most notably Rodchenko, Popova and Udalt- 
sova. The link with Rodchenko, who along with his wife Varvara Stepanova 
lived for a time in Kandinsky's building and directed an art reproduction 
studio there as well, was especially strong. He and Kandinsky both worked on 
the Commission to establish the Museums of Painterly Culture, Rodchenko 
as chairman of the purchasing committee; and with Stepanova and Nikolai 
Sinezubov the two were represented in the 1920 Exhibition of Four in 

One of Kandinsky's most ambitious undertakings reflected his continu- 
ing, profound interest in artistic theory: the establishment of the Moscow 
Institute of Artistic Culture (Inkhuk), which opened in May 192.0 with him 
as its head. This was a research institute in which the other leading members 
of the avant-garde participated, and here Kandinsky soon encountered op- 
position to his ideal of a pure abstract art with an expressive function. He 
presented his Program for Inkhuk in June 1920 at the First Pan-Russian 
Conference of Teachers and Students at the State Free Art and Industrial Art 
Studios, where it was well received. 50 This plan shows a logical development 
of ideas Kandinsky had investigated in On the Spiritual in Art and also pro- 
vides evidence of the thoughts concerning formal elements he evolved during 
the period he spent in Goldach in 1914. The emphasis in the Program is on 
the objective, analytical approach to the study of art, a tendency that cul- 
minated in his later teaching at the Bauhaus and in his Bauhaus Book Point 
and Line to Plane of 1926. He systematically categorized the graphic and 
chromatic elements and stressed the need to study their psychological effects, 
with the help of the relevant sciences, occult investigations included. He 
maintained that the interrelationships between painting, sculpture and archi- 
tecture should also be researched, with the further goal of progressing to 
"monumental art or art as a whole," involving all the arts. Accordingly 
music, literature, theater, dance, circus and variety shows should be analyzed 
to discover their underlying principles and effects on the psyche. Many of 
the features of his proposal represent the continuation of those aspects of his 
earlier thinking that ultimately derive from Symbolism: his concern with 
expression and intuition, with the integration of the arts and with the find- 
ings of occult sciences such as chromotherapy. The positivist and materialist 
orientation of his Inkhuk colleagues, along with their growing doubts re- 
garding the validity of pure art, caused them to reject his program. 

A particularly fascinating aspect of Kandinsky's plan is the importance 
placed on questionnaires as a means of determining the responses of a broad 


31. Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, pp. 
iio-iii. Evidently Popova's response 
to the Questionnaire has survived: see 
L. Adaskina, "Liubov Popova. Put' 
stanovleniia khudozhnika-konstruk- 
stora," Tehnicneskaia estetika, 
Moscow, 1978, no. 11, pp. 17-23; 
cited in Andrei Nakov, Abstrait/ 
Concret: art non-objectif Ritsse et 
Polonais, Paris, 1981, p. 174, note 

32. 1 am indebted to Jane Sharp for 
this translation. 

33. John E. Bowlt, ed., Russian Art of 
the Avant-Carde: Theory and Criti- 
cism, 1902-1934, New York, 1976, 
pp. 196-198; Lindsay and Vergo 
doubt that Kandinsky actually wrote 
this article, II, p. 902. 

34. Nina Kandinsky, p. 86. 

range of people to the visual elements. Tabulating their results would pro- 
duce a "directory" of abstract qualities. Such a desire to obtain verifiable 
findings in order to formulate general laws and ultimately to arrive at a uni- 
versal language was both a scientific impulse and a democratic one. The 
Inkhuk Questionnaire drawn up by Kandinsky (cat. no. 44), elaborates as- 
pects of his Program for the Institute. 31 It presents a series of twenty-eight 
questions, many requiring extensive answers and even sets of studies or 
exercises as responses. The varying effects of juxtaposing different forms or 
colors and changing their relative positions, orientation and placement on a 
page are considered, as are combinations of different colors and shapes. The 
questions on the psychological effects of forms and colors are especially in- 
teresting and represent features that met with opposition within the Insti- 

. . . Imagine, for example, a triangle— does it seem to move, where to? 
Does it seem more witty than a square? Is the sensation of a triangle 
similar to that of a lemon? Which is most similar to the singing of a 
canary— a triangle or a circle? Which geometric form is similar to Philis- 
tinism, to talent, to good weather, etc.? 

. . . Which color is most similar to the singing of a canary, the mooing 
of a cow, the whistle of the wind, a whip, a man, talent, to a storm, to 
repulsion, etc.? Can you express through color your feelings about 
science and of life, etc.? i2 

With the growing importance of Constructivism within Inkhuk, Kandinsky's 
program was rejected, and by the end of 1920 he left the Institute. Subse- 
quently, he was involved in the formation of a similar institution, the Rus- 
sian Academy of Artistic Sciences (RAKhN), which operated, as Inkhuk had, 
under the auspices of Narkompros. Kandinsky was chairman of the commit- 
tee to establish the Academy, and in June 192.1 he submitted a plan for the 
Physicopsychological Department, which he was to head. This plan, which 
summarizes aspects of his Inkhuk Program, was accepted. 33 The Academy 
opened in October, with Kandinsky as Vice-President, but his program 
was not instituted, as he departed for Berlin at the end of the year. Nina 
Kandinsky has reported that Kandinsky was passed over for President of 
the Academy because he was not a member of the Communist Party, in favor 
of Petr Kogan, who was. 34 If this were the case, Kandinsky's disappointment 
may have influenced his decision to leave Russia. 

In fact there were numerous reasons for this decision. The rejection of 
his program for Inkhuk was a clear indication of the ideological rift that had 
developed between him and the Russian avant-garde. The emphasis of the 
avant-garde on materials, on objective visual characteristics over subjective 
qualities, and on the rational, organizing features of construction as opposed 
to the intuitive process of composition constituted an argument from which 
Kandinsky dissented. Indeed, he was to continue this argument in his writings 
for many years. Further developments by the fall of 1921 put Kandinsky at 
an even greater distance from the leaders of the avant-garde. Shortly after 
their exhibition 5x5 = 25, held in Moscow in September, Alexandra Exter, 


35- See Peg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: 
The Formative Jugendstil Years, 
Princeton, 1979, chap. XI, esp. pp. 
122-124; and The Solomon R. Gug- 
genheim Museum, New York, 
Kandinsky in Munich: 1X96-1914, 
exh. cat., 1982, cat. nos. 30-33, 
109, no, 113, 118, 145-149, 154-161. 

36. Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 476-477. 

37. L. Andreeva, Sovetskii farfor 192.0- 
1930 gody, Moscow, 1975, pp. 115- 
116; other designs are reproduced in 
Lothar Lang, DasBauhaus, 19 19-19}}: 
Idee and Wirklichkeit, Berlin, 1965, 
figs. 34, 35; and Staatlichen Galerie 
Dessau, Schloss Georgium, Moderne 
Formgestaltung: das fortschrittliche 
Erbe des Bauhauses, exh. cat., 1967, 

38. Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, pp. 
80 and 492. 

39. John E. Bowlt, "Vasilii Kandinsky: 
The Russian Connection," in Bowlt 
and Long, pp. 28-29, 33- 

40. Nina Kandinsky, pp. 89 ff. 

Popova, Rodchcnko, Stepanova and Alexander Vesnin renounced pure art 
in favor of utilitarian design, or Productivism, and indeed Inkhuk adopted 
this position. Clearly, this tendency was in opposition to Kandinsky's art 
and ideals. 

It is ironic that Kandinsky himself had a great interest in applied arts, 
as his Munich-period designs show. 55 In his July ion interview he referred 
to the Productivist viewpoint and declared that he had been the first to make 
cups, in the previous December and in the first half of 1921, when he also 
designed embroideries. 36 Examples of the cups have survived, as have nu- 
merous drawings for cups (see cat. no. 49) as well as for a teapot and sugar 
bowl. The designs were for the parts of a tea service to be manufactured 
by the Petrograd Porcelain Factory. 37 An extant cup and saucer (cat. no. 50) 
draw motifs from the painting Circles in Black of 1921. A cup and saucer 
(cat. no. 51), which were included in the Erste russische Kitnstausstelhmg 
at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin in 1922, show more purely abstract 
forms, similar to elements in Red Spot 77, 1921. In his porcelain designs, 
then, Kandinsky utilized characteristic elements from his pictorial imagery. 
This was a decorative conception of applied art, not a more profoundly 
utilitarian approach. In this regard, it was not essentially different from that 
underlying the slightly later porcelain designs of the Suprematists Nikolai 
Suetin, Malevich and Ilia Chashnik. However, the geometric simplicity of 
the Suprematists' imagery occasionally accords with the shape of the objects 
so directly as to function more as a total design than as applied decoration. 
Of course, Kandinsky's porcelain designs were not Productivist in intention: 
they did not represent a repudiation of fine art nor an affirmation of the 
primacy of utilitarian goals. 

Certainly, by late 1921 Kandinsky's alienation from the Russian avant- 
garde must have been complete. Although he had worked energetically in 
the various programs of Narkompros and had exhibited and published 
frequently, he was unable to exercise any significant artistic influence. The 
rare works that reflect his style are by minor artists, Vasily Bobrov (see cat. 
nos. 47, 48), Kandinsky's student and secretary during 1920 and 192.1, and 
Konstantin Vialov, another of his pupils. 38 Even more telling are the harsh 
reviews Kandinsky had received from the important avant-garde art critic 
Nikolai Punin as early as 1917 and 1919. He condemned Kandinsky's work 
as romantic, literary and illogical. 39 Finally, the severe physical deprivations 
of the Civil War period constituted an important factor in Kandinsky's deci- 
sion to leave the Soviet Union, as Nina Kandinsky has made clear in her ac- 
count of their years in Russia. Once the prospect of going to Germany pre- 
sented itself, he could hope for a far more comfortable environment, material 
as well as critical. His commercial successes in the years immediately before 
the outbreak of the war, as well as his many friends and artistic contacts in 
Germany, augured well for his return. 

The occasion for his departure, as Nina Kandinsky recounts, was pro- 
vided by an invitation to the Bauhaus, a visit for which official permission 
was granted. 40 This invitation of fall 1921, the result perhaps of his previous 
contact with Gropius in connection with the activities of the International 


Bureau of IZO, was probably merely for a visit to study the new institution in 
Weimar. 11 A teaching position at the Bauhaus was offered to Kandinsky only 
in March of 1922, when Gropius visited him in Berlin. 

41. See Kandinsky 's letter of Dec. 27, 
192.1, to Klee in "Huit lettres de 
Kandinsky a Klee" in "Centenaire de 
Kandinsky, XX' Siecle, no. xxvii, 
Dec. 1966, p. 79; and Feininger's 
letter of Feb. 11, 1912, to his wife, 
The Houghton Library, Harvard 
University, Cambridge, Massa- 

42. A drawing believed to be a study for 
Small Pleasures and to date from 
191 3, the year inscribed on the sheet, 
was thought to show an early use of 
geometric form prior to Kandinsky's 
exposure to the Russian avant-garde 
(Kenneth C. Lindsay, "The Genesis 
and Meaning of the Cover Design for 
the first Blaue Reiter Exhibition Cata- 
logue," Art Bulletin, vol. xxxv, Mar. 
1953, pp. 50-52). More recently, how- 
ever, scholars have convincingly 
attributed the drawing to about 1924 
and connected it with the painting of 
that year, Reminiscence (Riickblick), 
which it resembles closely; Angelica 
Zander Rudenstine, The Guggenheim 
Museum Collection: Paintings 1880- 
194S, 2 vols., New York, 1976, vol. I, 
pp. 270-271; Hans K. Roethel in 
collaboration with Jean K. Benjamin, 
Kandinsky, New York, 1979, p. 126. 

43. As suggested by John E. Bowlt, who 
cites Malevich's friendship with Niko- 
lai Kul'bin and posits his reading the 
Russian publication of On the 
Spiritual in Art, in "The Semaphores 
of Suprematism: Malevich's Journey 
into the Non-Objective World," Art 
News, vol. lxxii, Dec. 1973, p. 20. 

Kandinsky's Russian Contemporaries 

The change in Kandinsky's art that began in 1919 can be understood only 
in reference to the work of his Russian contemporaries. His close association 
with leaders of the avant-garde and exposure to their art, as in the exhibitions 
in which he participated, affected his own development. This was a gradual 
process, however, culminating in 192.3, over a year after his departure from 
Russia. i: The prevailing attitudes in the programs and organizations in which 
Kandinsky worked must also have influenced him: particularly the belief in 
concrete, rational and scientific artistic approaches that allowed the produc- 
tion of art and design that would serve a mass society. Thus Kandinsky's in- 
creased emphasis on objective properties of artistic elements in his Inkhuk 
Program must have been a response to these attitudes toward art and art 
education. This move toward objectivity in his theoretical work was par- 
alleled in his art. 

Earlier, Kandinsky's art and ideas— his pioneering abstraction and his 
theoretical writings, with their discussions of the pure colors and forms- 
had exercised influence on artistic developments in Russia. Indeed, his chart 
of the primary colors and basic geometric shapes published in the Russian 
version of On the Spiritual in Art provided a precedent for Malevich's in- 
vestigations of pure geometry." With Malevich's Suprematist works of 19 15 
and later, however, a radically new form of art, a stark geometric non- 
objectivity, was born. The pictorial and graphic art of Suprematism and 
Constructivism appears very different from the work of Kandinsky's Russian 
period, yet it provided the example of formal qualities and principles he 
absorbed and gradually utilized in his painting and later theoretical and 
pedagogical work. 

The clear flat colors and well-defined geometric forms on white grounds 
of Malevich's epochal paintings of 1915 and 1916 contrast sharply with 
corresponding elements in Kandinsky's work prior to 1923; but their com- 
positional qualities are highly relevant to underlying characteristics of Kan- 
dinsky's Russian paintings. Most important in this respect is the sense of 
flotation and freedom from gravity, of suspension in an open space, wherein 
forms move past and swing away from each other. A Malevich painting of 

1 9 14 is entitled Suprematist Composition (Airplane Flying) (Collection The 
Museum of Modern Art, New York); and, indeed, this is appropriate because 
the feeling of levitation in his work conveys both a sense of modernity and a 
vision of spatial infinity that reflects his mystical sensibility. The straight 
edges and flat coloring of the fotms accord with the planar character of the 
pictures, but overlappings and abrupt changes in the size of neighboring 
forms create ambiguous effects of spatial layering. In Suprematist Fainting of 

1915 (cat. no. 52), the large, floating quadrilateral with superimposed or at- 
tached small shapes is a type of formal constellation to which Kandinsky 



fig. IO 

Kazimir Malevich 

Suprematist Painting. 1916 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

44. See Magdalena Dabrowski, "The 
Plastic Revolution: New Concepts 
of Form, Content, Space, and Mate- 
rials in the Russian Avant-Garde" in 
Los Angeles County Museum, Avant- 
Garde in Russia, p. 31. 

referred in Red Oval. However, in this painting of 1920 Kandinsky retained 
shading and atmospheric space, elements he later reduced in favor of a flatter 
handling of forms closer to Suprematism. 

Diagonality is an important compositional feature Malevich used to 
achieve a sense of movement, as indicated by the Suprematist Diagonal Con- 
struction 79 of 1917 (cat. no. 53). The drawing hears an inscription explain- 
ing the principles it embodies: A construction in the center of intersections of 
dynamic movements. This drawing might be a translation, albeit in more 
geometric form, of the schematic thinking underlying many of Kandinsky's 
late Munich and Russian compositions. Thus it parallels Kandinsky's work 
and anticipates his use of clearly defined diagonals from 1919. Malevich 
also produces an illusion of movement by shifting the axis of one or more 
of the elements in a group of forms, so that they begin to pull away from the 
constellation, creating a sense of imminent dispersal, as in Suprematist 
Painting, 1916 (fig. 10). This sense of movement contributes to the feeling 
of infinite space that characterizes his Suprematism and also to the dynamic 
conception of modern space that younger Russians and Kandinsky as well 
came to share. 

Finally, a crucial aspect of Malevich's formulation of an absolute non- 
objective art was his radical reduction of pictorial form to elementary 
shapes, often limited to only one or two in a painting. The most famous 
examples are the starkest: Black Quadrilateral, ca. 191 3, in the Tretiakov 
Gallery, Moscow, and Suprematist Composition: White on White, ca. 1918, 
at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In works such as these, the ex- 
treme simplicity of form makes factors such as position and alignment es- 
pecially critical. Thus a central placement or a shift of axis and placement 
toward the picture's corners produce very different visual effects: stability 
and flatness versus movement and implied space. Malevich's drawing 
Suprematist Element: Circle, 1915 (cat. no. 55), exemplifies these latter, dy- 
namic qualities. Suprematist Painting, Black Rectangle, Blue Triangle, 19 15 
(cat. no. 54), shows through its combination of the two forms their inherently 
different formal characters, which are enhanced by differences in size and 
color. Malevich's consideration of the inherent formal qualities of geometric 
elements may reflect the influence of Kandinsky's On the Spiritual in Art, 
though the text emphasized the feelings elicited by those characteristics. 44 
Kandinsky, in turn, may have been affected by Suprematism in his stress on 
the basic elements and their positioning and alignment in his Inkhuk Pro- 
gram and Questionnaire. In his Bauhaus teaching he developed these subjects 
still further. 

The Suprematist presence in Moscow was strongly felt in the emerging 
avant-garde. Malevich and his colleagues Kliun, Popova, Udaltsova and 
others organized the Supremus group in 1916 to 1917, and after the Revo- 
lution they were active in IZO Narkompros and at the Svomas in Moscow. 
Though Malevich left for Vitebsk in 1919, several of the other members of 
the Supremus were active in Inkhuk. Kandinsky assuredly had contact with 
them and saw their work in exhibitions. Kliun's relevance to Kandinsky lies 
primarily in his investigations of elementary forms. At the 1917 Jack of 


45- Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, pp. 
146-147, figs. 145-151, and p. 183, 
fig. 269. 

46. Jean-Claude Marcade, "K. S. Male- 
vich: From Black Quadrilateral (1913) 
to White on White (1917); from the 
Eclipse of Objects to the Liberation 
of Space" in Los Angeles County 
Museum, Avant-Garde in Russia, 

p. 21. 

47. "Reflections on Abstract Art" ("Re- 
flexions sur l'art abstrait," Cahiers 
d'Art, 1931), Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 

48. Dabrowski, Los Angeles County Mu- 
seum, Avant-Garde in Russia, p. 31. 

49. Apparently, Kliun's painting Supre- 
matism: 3 Color Composition, ca. 
1917 (fig. 10), was among the works 
shown in the Jack of Diamonds ex- 
hibition in Moscow, 1917; Ruden- 
stine, Costakis Collection, p. 146, 
fig. 140. 

50. I am indebted to my colleague at 
Emory University, Dr. Juliette R. 
Stapanian, for introducing me to the 
concept of shift (sdvig) as it applies to 
Russian avant-garde poetry and art. 

51. See Nakov, p. 155. 

52. Gail Harrison Roman, "Art After the 
Last Picture: Rodchenko," Art in 
America, vol. lxviii, Summer 1980, 
pp. 120-121. 

53. Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum der 
Stadt Duisburg and Staatliche Kunst- 
halle Baden-Baden, Alexander 
Rodtschenko and Warwara Stepa- 
nowa, exh. cat., 1982, illustrations 
pp. 120-127. 

Diamonds exhibition in Moscow he evidently showed an extraordinary 
series of paintings, each bearing one geometric form on a light ground. 45 
Among the shapes featured in these works were a circle, elipse, triangle and 
trapezium along with odder forms— an unusual trapezium with one curved 
side and an angled fragment of a triangle (for example, fig. 6; cat. no. 57). 
Each shape is given a particular color, for example, the circle, bright red; 
the elipse, red brown; the triangle, orange; and the angled form, yellow. 
While the correspondences do not match Kandinsky's choices, these paint- 
ings embody his principle that the inherent characteristics of colors and 
forms bear special relationships to each other. 

The odd geometric shapes in Kliun's series are particularly interesting. 
They are irregular like Malevich's quadrilaterals, which depart from the 
normative square or rectangle. 46 Together with subtle variations in surface 
texture and a sensitive placement of forms in relation to the picture's edge, 
these personally determined shapes introduce slightly illusionary qualities 
within the generally flat nonobjective images. Such characteristics of Su- 
prematism anticipate the freedom with which Kandinsky approached ge- 
ometry in the work of his Bauhaus years. In other works Kliun focuses on the 
juxtaposition of two or more geometric shapes to convey the contrast be- 
tween their inherent energies, as Malevich had done in Suprematist Painting, 
Black Rectangle, Blue Triangle. Kliun's drawing of a triangle overlapping a 
segment of a circle (cat. no. 58) prefigures Kandinsky's use of this combina- 
tion, which he described much later in his arresting statement: "The contact 
between the acute angle of a triangle and a circle has no less effect than that of 
God's finger touching Adam's in Michelangelo." 47 While there is little likeli- 
hood that Kandinsky knew Kliun's drawing, the principle it embodies was 
inherent in the work and writings of the Suprematists, most notably Malevich 
and Popova. 48 In combining three geometric shapes Kliun created an image of 
overlapping circle, triangle and quadrilateral (fig. n) that coincidentally 
foreshadows studies done for Kandinsky's Bauhaus classes, for example 
Eugen Batz's Spatial Effect of Colors and Forms (cat. no. 22.0). 49 A watercolor 
by Udaltsova from ca. 1918-20 (cat. no. 59) shows a similar image and illu- 
strates once more the Suprematist interest in the stark juxtaposition of basic 

Popova's contribution to Suprematism was a major one: she abandoned 
Malevich's mystical allusion to infinite space and placed increased value on 
the formal properties of surface, shapes and colors. Her "architectonic com- 
positions" from 1916 to 1918 achieve a density and energy through the over- 
lapping of large-scale geometric planes. Within a shallow space flatness is 
emphasized, and a dynamic quality is created by the intensity of color con- 
trast and by the triangular outlines and diagonal placement of forms. Kan- 
dinsky's later use of large geometric planes that often serve as backgrounds 
for smaller forms and his deployment of diagonal bars to dynamic effect 
seem at least partially indebted to Popova's Suprematist compositions. A 
basic device Kandinsky shared with Popova and Malevich as well was that 
of "shift," 50 the placement of forms off axis to create a disjunction and sense 
of movement. This dislocation of forms was a major feature of the Russian 


fig. II 

Ivan Kliun 

Suprematism: ? Color Composition. 

ca. 1917 

Oil on board 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

fig. ii 

Alexander Rodchenko 

Untitled. 19 17 
Gouache on paper 
Private Collection 

54. Ibid., esp. illustrations pp. 1 28-131, 
151, 160-167; also, two ink drawings 
entitled Composition "Points," 1920, 
p. 166, and the painting Kinetic Com- 
position "Points," 1910, p. 169. Two 
of the relevant paintings in the 
George Costakis Collection evidently 
were included in the Exhibition of 
Four, Moscow, 1910, in which Kan- 
dinsky also showed: Composition: 
Two Circles, 1918, and Composition 
No. ny, 1919, Angelica Zander Ru- 
denstine, "The Catalogue" in The 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: 
Selections from the George Costakis 
Collection, exh. cat., 1981, pp. 205, 

avant-garde's antitraditional, antihierarchic approach to composition, form- 
ulated to achieve a statement of modernity. 

Along with Malevich and Popova, the most important painter of the 
Russian avant-garde was the Constructivist Rodchenko, whose close asso- 
ciation with Kandinsky has already been mentioned. 51 Many elements of 
Rodchenko's paintings and drawings from the years 1915 to 1920 were of 
great relevance to Kandinsky's work of the early and mid-twenties. His de- 
velopment of the use of the compass and ruler, first in drawings of 1915 
and 1916 and subsequently in paintings, constituted a major contribution 
to the Russian concept of the "artist/engineer." 52 His gouaches from 1915 
to 1917 are colorful and dynamic compositions that employ many kinds of 
geometric shapes: circles, crescents and segments of circles in addition to 
triangles and fragments of quadrilaterals (see fig. 12). 53 This wide range of 
forms is indicative of the extraordinary inventiveness of his work, which was 
based on a highly experimental approach to artistic elements and materials. 
The variety and liveliness of Rodchenko's imagery is extremely pertinent to 
Kandinsky's subsequent use of geometry. 

Specific features of Rodchenko's art that probably influenced Kandin- 
sky are his use of circles, points and linear groupings. 54 Overlapping circles 
were a major motif in the younger artist's pictures that include disks or rings 
(for example, cat. nos. 68, 69) in simple and complex combinations. In some 
of these works halo effects result from experimentation with the textural 
properties of the paint medium. These inventive variations on the theme of 
the circle are incorporated in Kandinsky's paintings of the early twenties and 
later. His works of the mid-twenties show not only circular motifs but small 
round points as well. In particular, Several Circles, 1926 (cat. no. 188), with 
its multicolored elements and dark background, strikingly resembles Rod- 


fig- 13 

Alexander Rodchenko 

Composition No. iij. 1919 

Oil on canvas 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

fig. 14 

Alexander Rodchenko 

Composition "Points." 1910 

India ink on paper 

Collection Rodchenko Archive, Moscow 

55. "The Line," Arts Magazine, vol. 47, 
May-June 1973, pp. 50-51; transla- 
tion and notes by Andrei Nakov. 

chenko's paintings with brightly colored points on black of 1919 and 1920 
(see fig. 13). Related to these paintings are Rodchenko's ink drawings from 
1920 entitled Composition "Points" (see fig. 14), which show variations in 
the density and placement of small circles and dots, treatments similar to 
those Kandinsky illustrated in drawings of 1925 for his book Point and Line 
to Plane (cat. nos. 183-185). Line ultimately became the preeminent construc- 
tive element for Rodchenko, as he explained in his 1921 Inkhuk lecture, 
"Line." 55 During the preceding two years he had experimented with straight 
lines disposing them in parallel, converging and intersecting configurations. 
The precision and structural clarity of the resulting images are characteristic 
of this stage of Constructivism. In spite of the overall sense of flatness con- 
veyed in these works, some perspectival indications are provided by the 
overlapping and converging lines though such spatial clues are contradicted 
by other devices. Rodchenko's Non-Objective Painting of 1919 (cat. no. 70) 
even includes a grid that recedes slightly into space, a feature that El Lissitzky 
and Kandinsky were to use in the early twenties. 

Certainly Kandinsky knew works by Rodchenko of the sort discussed 
here, as the two artists associated personally and participated in the same 
exhibitions, most notably the Exhibition of Four in 1920. Not only did 
Kandinsky adopt the geometric motifs inspired by Rodchenko's works during 
the first years after his return to Germany, some time after he first encoun- 
tered them in Russia, but he used them toward different objectives and in the 
context of a different style. Whereas Rodchenko's deployment of elements is 
characterized by reductive purity, Kandinsky created a pictorial imagery of 
great variation and multiplicity of forms. Spatially less flat and structurally 
less schematic than Rodchenko's, his pictures of the period continue to 
develop the art of underlying complexity he had formulated earlier. 


56. Sophie Lissitzky-Kiippers, El Lissit- 
zky: Life, Letters, Texts, New York, 
1969, p. -4- 

57. Rudenstine, "The Catalogue" in 
Guggenheim Museum, Selections 
from the Costakis Collection, p. 175. 

58. Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, p. 
247, fig. 463. 

59. E.g., "Reflections on Abstract Art," 
Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 758-759. Lissit- 
zky criticized Kandinsky's recent 
paintings in a review of exhibitions 

in Berlin in Veshcb, no. 3, 1922., 
quoted in Lissitzky-Kiippers, p. 342. 
He felt that being "swamped with 
color" they lost clarity. Moholy- 
Nagy's subsequent presence at the 
Bauhaus would have provided Kan- 
dinsky with further reason for re- 
sisting Constructivist "calculation." 

The art form Lissitzky invented and called Proitn (an acronym for 
"Project for the Affirmation of the New") extended the Suprematist style 
by the addition of a Constructivist sense of calculated structure and a dy- 
namic, contradictory three-dimensionality. Lissitzky also participated in the 
movement toward utilitarian art, creating an abstract graphic style for typo- 
graphic design and producing examples of agit-prop (agitation-and-propa- 
ganda). His works that are close to the Suprematist idiom contain simple, 
flat geometric forms— triangles, circles and bars— similar to those Kandinsky 
was beginning to incorporate in his pictures. The poster Beat the Whites 
with the Red Wedge, 1919 (cat. no. 73), juxtaposes a white circle and a red 
triangle— a kind of contrast between colors and forms Kliun had investigated 
and Kandinsky would later utilize. The formal language of this agit-prop 
design very effectively communicates its urgent Civil War message. In his 
children's book Of Two Squares, designed in 1920 and published in 1922, 
Lissitzky used geometry in a narrative way to convey a political theme: "The 
red square destroyed the black chaos on earth, in order to rebuild a new red 
unity." 56 The straightforward symbolism of color and shape seen here is very 
different from the mysterious "inner sound" Kandinsky intuited in forms, 
yet both are based on the notion that particular elements carry specific mean- 
ings, a concept for which Kandinsky had been an influential proponent. In 
addition, the grouping of rectangular shapes atop the circle in Lissitzky's 
page design for the book (cat. no. 77), elements that recall Kandinsky's images 
of the hilltop citadel, constitute an odd link between the two artists. 

Lissitzky rotated images in order to deny their traditional orientation to 
the horizon and thus proclaim a new, liberated sense of space. 57 Kandinsky 
had experimented with rotating compositions in 1918 and the device is im- 
plicit in some of his subsequent works, including those with borders. How- 
ever, the floating quality and aerial allusions of Malevich's art, rather than 
the example of Kandinsky, probably inspired Lissitzky to develop his con- 
cept of rotation. It is seen most explicitly in his circular lithograph Proitn 6B, 
ca. 1919-21 (cat. no. 76), the sketch for which is signed on three sides, sug- 
gesting that it can be viewed from all directions. 58 This work also exhibits 
aspects of Lissitzky's art that Kandinsky resisted: the precise character of 
technical draughtsmanship and the explicit, although ambiguously used, in- 
dications of a draughtsman's spatial projections. Here and in the painting 
Proun 3 A, ca. 1920 (cat. no. 75), the design appears to have been created by 
instruments such as the T-square, triangle and compass. Perhaps it was 
Lissitzky, therefore, more than any other Russian avant-garde artist, whom 
Kandinsky had in mind when he later criticized Constructivism for banishing 
intuition and placing too much faith in a calculated mathematical approach 
to pictorial composition. 59 

In conclusion, in assessing Kandinsky's debt to his Russian contempo- 
raries, one must consider more than the increasing use of elementary geo- 
metric forms and clarified structure apparent in his pictures. He was affected 
by other essential aspects of their art, though in some instances this influence 
resulted in an enhancement of features already implicit in his work, rather 
than in an appropriation of new elements. The devices that affected him 


were the superimposition of flat planes, shift of axis and placement of forms, 
diagonality, dispersal and centrifugal composition, and the contradictory 
use of spatial effects. As a consequence of this influence, the appearance of 
Kandinsky's art changed dramatically by 1922-23. Nevertheless, his new 
style remained recognizably his own, because he adapted the forms and 
principles of the Russians to his own imagery of formal multiplicity and 
variety, which often retained a sense of atmospheric space, abstracted land- 
scape references and idiosyncratic shapes. A crucial clue to the fundamental 
difference between his work and that of the Russians is provided by their 
opposing views of construction and composition. 60 For Kandinsky, con- 
struction—the structural organization of the formal elements— was subordi- 
nate to composition, which embraced the expressive function of the elements 
and thus served the content of the work. 61 For his Russian contemporaries, 
construction— the economical organization of materials or elements accord- 
ing to structural essentials— had primacy, whereas composition was deni- 
grated as merely a harmonious, pictorial arrangement of forms. Their values 
of economy and clear structure were not in themselves important to Kan- 
dinsky, since he considered the expressive result of combining the various 
elements more significant. His major pictures of the post-Russian years, thus, 
are hardly reductive. Indeed, they have a complexity and richness of incident 
comparable to that of his Munich works, achieved, however, with a different 
formal vocabularly and greater clarity. At the Bauhaus he could consolidate 
his emerging geometric style in a context that welcomed his artistic and theo- 
retical activities. There he was able to pursue both the systematic study of 
formal elements in his teaching and the intuitive process of pictorial com- 
position in his art. 


60. Margit Rowell, "New Insights into 
Soviet Constructivism: Painting, 
Constructions, Production Art" in 
Guggenheim Museum, Selections 
from the Costakis Collection, pp. 26- 
27; Rudenstine, "The Catalogue," 
Ibid., pp. 226-217. 

61. "Program for the Institute of Artistic 
Culture," Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 469; 
"The Basic Elements of Form" ("Die 
Grundelemente der Form" in Staat- 
liches Bauhaus 'Weimar, 1919-192), 
Weimar and Munich, 1923), Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, p. 502; and "Abstract Art" 
("Abstrakte Kunst," Der Cicerone, 
1925), Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 516. 

Return to Germany 

Arriving in Berlin in December 1921, Kandinsky entered an artistic milieu very 
different from that of the prewar Munich he had left in 1914. The German 
Revolution of November 1918 and the establishment of the Weimar Republic 
with the Social Democrats as the leading party had encouraged Utopian 
hopes for a new society, which the arts sought to advance. The artists' or- 
ganizations with which Kandinsky had been in contact as a member of the 
International Bureau of Narkompros propounded the principle of dedicating 
the arts to the needs of the new, more egalitarian society. The November- 
grttppe, the Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst (Work Council for Art) and the Bauhaus, 
which was established in Weimar in the spring of 1919, championed these 
goals. Not only Kandinsky's stature in Germany as a pioneering abstract 
artist and influential theorist, but also his contribution to the innovative 
Russian developments in education and research in the arts made him an 
appropriate choice for the faculty of the Bauhaus. 


62. "Berliner Ausstellungen," Sozialisti- 
sche Monatshefte, vol. I, July 1922, 
p. 699; quoted in Rudenstine, Gug- 
genheim Museum Collection, I, p. 

63. See Rudenstine, Costakis Collection, 
pp. 256 ff., for a review of the schol- 
arly literature on this motif, esp. 
Rose-Carol Washton, Vasily Kandin- 
sky, 1909-13: Painting and Theory, 
Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 
New Haven, 1968, pp. 217-223 and 
Rose-Carol Washton Long, 
Kandinsky: The Development of an 
Abstract Style, New York, 1980, pp. 

Kandinsky quickly became reinvolved in the German art world. Exhi- 
bitions of his work took place at the Galerie Goldschmidt-Wallerstein in 
Berlin in May 1922 and at Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie in Munich in 
June. He participated in the Erste Internationale Kunstausstellung in Diissel- 
dorf the same June, contributing a brief foreword to its catalogue, in which 
he reasserted his belief in "synthesis," interpreted as a uniting both of diverse 
people and of the separate arts. He was given an exhibition at Carl Gumme- 
son's gallery in Stockholm in October, was included in the important Erste 
russische Kunstausstellung at the Galerie van Diemen and showed his murals 
at the Juryfreie Kunstschau in Berlin that fall. The changes that had occurred 
in Kandinsky's art during the immediately preceding years were readily ap- 
parent. They were noted by Ludwig Hilbersheimer, who, in his review of the 
Goldschmidt-Wallerstein exhibition, commented that titles of works such as 
Circles on Black, 1921 (cat. no. 42), revealed Kandinsky's "striving toward 
geometrization, towards the constructive." 62 Constructivism itself was be- 
coming an important artistic force in Germany with the presence there of 
other Russians, such as Lissitzky, and artists from elsewhere in Eastern 
Europe, for example Hungarians, including Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, who had 
come to Berlin after the collapse of the Hungarian Revolution. The Con- 
structivist tendency in Kandinsky's work, however much it may have been 
absorbed into his personal style, is evidence of the movement's international 
scope. Indeed, the growing importance of Constructivism in Europe may 
have furthered Kandinsky's own acceptance of geometry as a universal ar- 
tistic language. 

The works Kandinsky executed during the first year after he returned to 
Germany, which include only five oil paintings, continue to develop the 
synthetic style of the Russian period in their combination of geometric and 
free forms. Circles, triangles, bars and checkerboard patterns appear together 
with irregular invented shapes and areas of stippling or loosely applied paint, 
which create the predominant effect of free handling. Two paintings of 1922 
include important elements of works from the preceding year: Blue Circle 
(cat. no. 80) is a centrifugal, floating, sky-like or planetary image; White 
Cross (cat. no. 81) shows a large trapezium, with its attendant spatial im- 
plications, against which is placed a diagonal buildup of forms intersected 
by opposing diagonals. The loosely modeled forms in White Cross include 
two odd crescent-shapes of a vaguely organic character. These are juxtaposed 
with clearly defined elements, the strip of checkerboard patterning that con- 
tains the white cross, and a long needle-like diagonal. The juxtaposition of 
the diagonal and crescent reverses the relationship seen in an untitled water- 
color of 1922 (cat. no. 82), which features a motif derived from works of 
Kandinsky's Munich period. It is the lance-bearing horseman, whose cypher, 
the double curve in the upper right, is a further simplification of the ab- 
stracted form of horse and rider associated with St. George in Painting with 
White Border of 1913. 63 White Cross lacks the specific reference made by the 
double curve, as well as the motif in the lower left of the watercolor that may 
signify the coils of the multicolored dragon. Reversing the direction of the 
tapering line, its point intersecting the organic curved form, the painting 


fig- 15 

Vasily Kandinsky 
Arc and Point. February 1923 
Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 

fig. 16 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Blue Painting. January 1924 
(HL 267) 

Oil on canvas mounted on board 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift, Fuller Foun- 
dation, Inc., 1976 

64. In a letter of Dec. 13, 1912, to Kath- 
erine Dreier, Kandinsky wrote that 
the portfolio was finally finished: 
Katherine S. Dreier Papers, The 
Beinecke Rare Book Room and Man- 
uscript Library, Yale University, 
New Haven. 

renders the relationship abstract, transmuting it into a juxtaposition of op- 
posite characteristics rather than a confrontation between elements in a 
symbolic narrative. This abstraction is taken further in subsequent works 
that use the constellation of diagonal line and arc, the watercolor Arc and 
Point, 1923, and the oil Blue Painting, 1924 (figs. 15, 16). 

The continuing development of elements from the Russian period and 
the revival of images from his Munich years also characterize one of Kan- 
dinsky's major undertakings of 1922, the Small Worlds portfolio of twelve 
prints. 64 Printed at the Bauhaus in Weimar, the portfolio was published by 
the Propyliien Verlag in Berlin. A product of Kandinsky's first months at the 
Bauhaus and of the first year of his renewed residence in Germany, these 
prints are especially interesting for their range of imagery, which is both 
retrospective and forward-looking. From his Munich work came the hilltop 
citadels of Small Worlds VIII (cat. no. 90) and the boat with oar of Small 
Worlds II (cat. no. 85), though the addition of the sail transforms the storm- 
tossed vessel of the Deluge into a calmer, more picturesque motif, whose 
feeling of tranquility is reinforced by the large, blue ovoid form. Many of the 
prints show devices from Kandinsky's Russian years, including the land- 
scape motif and oval border of Small Worlds III (cat. no. 86) derived from 
Red Border, the dispersed imagery of Small Worlds X (fig. 17) and the plane- 
tary composition of Small Worlds VI (fig. 18), which is close to that of Circles 
011 Black. The checkerboards and grids in several of the prints are Con- 
structivist elements that Kandinsky first used in Russia in On White of 1920 
(fig. 19), whose checkered band and striped diagonals are precedents for 
Small Worlds IV (cat. no. 87). The indications of perspective are contra- 
dictory, as elements appear at once to recede and to be flat, and a further 
spatial tension is provided by the large black ring which counteracts the 


fig- 17 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Small Worlds X. 1922 

Drypoint on paper 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 

fig. 18 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Small Worlds VI. 1922 

Woodcut on paper 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 

fig. 19 

Vasily Kandinsky 

On White. February 1920 

(HL 224) 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Russian Museum, Leningrad 


6s. Nina Kandinsky, p. 109. 

66. The estimates of the measurements, 
based on door heights typical about 
1920, were formulated at the time of 
this reconstruction, as explained by 
Jean A. Vidal, "Notes Techniques sur 
la Realisation du Salon Kandinsky" 
in Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, he 
Salon de Reception Concu en 1922 
par Kandinsky, brochure, n.d., n.p. 

67. Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 368. 

illusion of depth. Kandinsky's use of the grid and checkerboard also accords 
with the great interest in these forms at the Bauhaus, where they were em- 
ployed as devices for designs and formats for student exercises. Finally, the 
clearly defined forms and flat colors that dominate a number of these prints, 
as well as some of the compositional arrangements, anticipate Kandinsky's 
subsequent work: for example, the cluster of parallel bars and the circular 
bands intersected by wedge shapes in Small Worlds VII (cat. no. 89) and the 
radiating and crisscrossing diagonals in Small Worlds I (cat. no. 84). 

The advanced qualities of the Small Worlds prints are shared by Kan- 
dinsky's most ambitious project of the year, the design of large-scale wall 
paintings for an octagonal room in the Juryfreie Kunstsckau in Berlin (see 
cat. nos. 93-98). These murals were to be installed in the entrance room of an 
art museum, but the plans were never realized. Their execution involved the 
participation of Bauhaus students, who, using casein paint and working on 
the floor of the Bauhaus auditorium, transferred his designs onto large can- 
vases. 65 The murals apparently measured approximately fourteen-feet-high 
by twenty-three-feet-wide for the longer walls and five-feet-wide for the 
short walls. 66 The dynamic compositions and vivid colors glowing against 
the black and brown backgrounds must have created an exciting experience 
for the viewer surrounded by these wall-size paintings, as can be gauged by 
the full-scale reconstruction installed in the Musee National d'Art Moderne. 
This project provided Kandinsky with one of his few opportunities to re- 
alize his ideal of "monumental art," here synthesizing painting and archi- 
tecture. As such, it was a fitting accomplishment of his first months at the 
Bauhaus, whose goal was the integration of the fine and applied arts and 
where he had been appointed master of the Wall-Painting Workshop. The 
origins of Kandinsky's desire to achieve a synthetic work such as the Jury- 
freie room ultimately can be traced to an early experience on an ethnological 
research trip to the Vologda region of Russia in 1889. On entering the peasant 
houses, which were full of brightly colored furniture, folk art and icons, he 
felt surrounded by painting. As he wrote in his "Reminiscences" of 1913, "In 
these magical houses I experienced something I have never encountered again 
since. They taught me to move within the picture, to live in the picture." 67 
The intensity and scale of the Juryfreie murals allowed the viewer to be- 
come absorbed in the pictorial experience of Kandinsky's abstract imagery. 

The mixture of free and geometric forms that characterized the style of 
the end of the Russian period is found in the murals. However, the scale and 
prominence of geometric elements is increased in many areas of the compo- 
sitions, and representational motifs are eliminated in favor of an abstract 
vocabulary of forms. The largest number of irregular forms occurs in Panel A, 
the most independent composition, which can be likened to a conventional 
easel painting enlarged to the size of a wall. It contains an extraordinarily 
broad array of shapes organized to constitute a dynamic confrontation be- 
tween two large clusters of forms, and shows great variety in handling of 
surface and contour. Thus the mural represents a continuation of the inven- 
tiveness and formal richness asserted in the works of the last years in Russia. 
Comparison of the gouache maquette with photographs (cat. nos. 93, 94) 


of the mural shows that the forms, particularly the geometric shapes and 
above all the circles, were more precisely executed in the final work. 68 
This transformation of shapes in the course of the execution of the panels 
accords with the emergence of the geometric style of Kandinsky's Bauhaus 
years. Among the abstract motifs encountered in the murals are checker- 
board elements tilted in space, crisscrossing lines and clusters of circles, fea- 
tures that recur throughout the early Bauhaus work. On the three walls with 
doorways and in the corner panels, geometry plays a more important role, 
serving to create a truly synthetic work by relating the compositions to the 
architectural context. Parallel bars echo the horizontal boundaries of the 
walls and diagonals emerge from corners. A particularly dramatic image is 
achieved by means of these devices at the right side of Panel D, where the 
tapering diagonal bands seem to pierce the circle, a motif Kandinsky singled 
out when he used it again in a painting of the following year that he titled 
The Arrow Form. 69 Checkerboard fragments appear in most of the panels, 
usually near the boundaries, repeating the black and white checkered floor 
of the original room, a feature that further unifies the paintings with their 
three-dimensional context. 70 

Within the first half-year of his tenure at the Bauhaus, then, Kandinsky 
made contributions to the Printing Workshop and the Wall-Painting Work- 
shop that fulfilled the early goals of the school. Both projects involved special 
techniques or craft and the public function of art: the portfolio, which in- 
cluded lithographs, woodcuts and drypoints, had a relatively wide avail- 
ability and the murals exemplified the process of large-scale painting and 
were public in nature. In addition, the Juryfreie designs realized the Bauhaus 
ideal of integrating the arts of painting and architecture. To be sure, the 
portfolio and the murals were examples of fine art rather than utilitarian 
and thus reflected Kandinsky's position regarding the primacy of pure art, 
which he maintained during his eleven years at this school for applied de- 
sign. In fact, the issue of the relative importance of fine art versus applied 
design remained a problematic one throughout the institution's existence. 

68. I am grateful to Christian Derouet of 
the Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, for 
bringing to my attention the compo- 
site of these original photographs, 
published in Will Grohmann, Was- 
sily Kandinsky, Paris, 1930, pi. 19, 
fig. 13. 

69. Die Pfeilform, 1923 (HL 258). 

70. See Katherine Dreier's description in 
her booklet Kandinsky, New York, 
1913. P- 3- 

The Early Bauhaus 

Kandinsky arrived at the Bauhaus in June 1922, just as a change was begin- 
ning to take place in its theoretical and stylistic orientation: away from 
Expressionism and toward a more universal, objective and Constructivist 
point of view, involving increased emphasis on functionalism and technology 
in the approach to design. Lyonel Feininger's woodcut for the cover of the 
founding proclamation of April 1919, the Frogramm des Staatlichen Bau- 
hauses in Weimar (Program of the State Bauhaus) (cat. no. 99), suggests the 
character of the school during its initial period. This image of a cathedral 
conveys the Utopian mood of the early years of Germany's socialist de- 
mocracy, which had been established in the preceding November. It em- 
bodies as well an Expressionist view of the Middle Ages, conceiving the 
Gothic cathedral as the center of the culture, uniting people of different social 
classes within a common spiritual ideology and integrating the visual and 


7i. "The Great Utopia" ("O velikoi 
utopii," Khudozbestvennaia Zhizn', 
1910), Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 444-448; 
"Steps Taken by the Department of 
Fine Arts in the Realm of Interna- 
tional Art Politics" ("Shagi otdela 
izobrazitel'nykh iskusstv v mezhdu- 
narodnoi khudozhestvennoi politike," 
Ibid.), Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 448-454; 
"Program for the Institute of Artistic 
Culture," Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 463. 

72. "Programm des Staatlichen Bau- 
hauses in Weimar," April 1919; 
translated in Hans M. Wingler, The 
Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, 
Chicago, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
1969, p. 31. 1 have substituted the 
word "building" for "structure" as 
the translation of "Ban." 

73. A much fuller account of Kandinsky's 
activities at the school is provided in 
my book, Kandinsky — Unterricbt am 
Bauhaus: Farbenseminar und analy- 
tiscbes Zeichnen, dargestellt am 
Beispiel der Sammlung des Bauhaus- 
Archivs, Berlin, Weingarten, 1982. 
For discussions of the early years 

of the Bauhaus see Marcel Francis- 
cono, Walter Gropius and the Crea- 
tion of the Bauhaus in Weimar: the 
Ideals and Artistic Theories of its 
Founding Years, Urbana, Illinois, 

74. See Kandinsky's essay "On Reform 
of Art Schools" ("K reforme khudoz- 
hestvennoi shkoly," hkusstvo, 1923), 
in Lindsay/Vergo, II, esp. p. 495. 

performing arts within its physical confines. That Kandinsky shared these 
ideas and must already by the beginning of 1920 have been aware that the 
Bauhaus espoused them is demonstrated by his writings of that year. He not 
only made note of the formation of the Arbeitsrat fiir Kunst, the November- 
gruppe and the Bauhaus but also called for "the building of an international 
house of art" representing all the arts and named "The Great Utopia." 71 The 
Expressionist style of Feininger's print embraces a Cubist-derived integration 
of forms and space, which suggests a unification of the material and the 
cosmic, as well as angular shapes and direct evidence of the woodcut techni- 
que, which draw attention to the handcraft process involved. The print, in 
fact, summarizes the philosophy of the Bauhaus at its founding, as articulated 
in the final paragraph of director Walter Gropius's manifesto published in 
the Prograrmn: 

Let 11s create a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that 
raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist! Together let us 
desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future, which will 
embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which 
will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers 
like the crystal symbol of a new faith? 2 

When Kandinsky joined the Bauhaus he became part of a faculty that con- 
sisted primarily of artists, including Feininger, who was master of the Printing 
Workshop, Johannes Itten, director of the Preliminary Course, Paul Klee, 
teacher in the Preliminary Course and master of the Stained-Glass Work- 
shop, and Oskar Schlemmer, master of the Sculpture Workshop and subse- 
quently director of the Bauhaus Stage. As already noted, Kandinsky became 
master of the Wail-Painting Workshop and, in addition, like Klee, taught 
one of the courses in the Theory of Form as part of the preliminary program, 
which was required of all students before they entered one of the specialized 
workshops. 73 Gropius believed that artists could provide the necessary vision 
for the creation of a new kind of design that would serve modern society, 
and he also came to feel that courses in theory were needed to help students 
develop an understanding of the principles and elements of form. Kandinsky 
firmly maintained that "free art" should be the basis for the practical arts, 
a view he continued to espouse long after the school had begun to emphasize 
utilitarian design. 74 Kandinsky's and Klee's courses within the preliminary 
program supplemented the workshop classes of Itten, which were later taken 
over by Josef Albers and Moholy-Nagy. Together, these classes constituted 
a program that stressed the direct handling of materials, experimentation 
with design elements and discussions of theory in which both students and 
faculty participated. 

The original formulation of the Bauhaus Preliminary Course is to be 
credited to Itten, who brought a background in early progressive education 
to the teaching of artistic principles and encouraged in his students a sensi- 
tivity to materials and an awareness of their own psychic responses. The 
Expressionist side of Itten's artistic personality can be seen in the typography 
he designed for his essay, "Analysis of Old Masters," 1921 (see cat. nos. 


75- "Analysen alter Meister" in Utopia: 
Dokumente der Wirklichkeit, Wei- 
mar, 192.1, pp. 28-78. The typo- 
graphic design was a collaborative 
project involving the student Friedl 
Dicker in addition to Itten. 

76. For a survey of color charts and 
theories used at the Bauhaus, see my 
catalogue, The High Museum of Art, 
Atlanta, Bauhaus Color, 1976; a more 
detailed treatment is found in my 
Ph.D. dissertation, Color Theories of 
the Bauhaus Artists, Columbia 
University, New York, 1973. 

104, 105), which features an exuberant mixture of typefaces and colors, and 
in his analytical sketches of old-master paintings. 75 These sketches reflect an 
immediacy of emotional response to compositional elements in the paintings. 
Itten asked his students to follow a similar approach in both analytical draw- 
ings and rhythmic studies. These exercises sometimes resulted in highly sim- 
plified summations of movements or formal relationships, as exemplified in 
the diagram at the lower right of Itten's sheet of sketches analyzing Meister 
Franke's Adoration of the Magi (cat. no. 106). He also submitted the paint- 
ings to an elaborate geometric analysis (cat. no. 107). Both the geometric and 
reductive schematization of Itten's analyses seem to have influenced Kan- 
dinsky's teaching of analytical drawing, particularly in its more elaborate 
form at the Dessau Bauhaus. 

Itten made another contribution to the program of objective study of 
materials and visual elements that gained ascendancy at the school: his 
systematic categorization of textures and colors according to sets of con- 
trasts such as smooth-rough, dull-shiny, light-dark and the complementary 
oppositions for colors. His Color Sphere, 1921 (cat. no. 108), presented as 
a twelve-pointed star with seven gradations from white to black for each 
of the twelve hues, is an early example of the charts used at the Bauhaus 
as aids to understanding color relationships and nuances. Itten's diagram 
is heir to a tradition that began with Goethe and the painter-theorist Philipp 
Otto Runge at the beginning of the nineteenth century and is particularly 
indebted to his own teacher in Stuttgart, Adolf Holzel. 76 Kandinsky used 
color charts in his teaching, but relied on simpler ones such as the six-part 
color circle. A particular instance of Kandinsky's borrowing from Itten's 
teaching is provided by the student exercises he assigned concerning chro- 
matic contrast using the square-in-square format. Vincent Weber's study done 
for Itten's course (cat. no. nz) demonstrates the principle by placing a pri- 
mary color, red, against different colored backgrounds to show varying kinds 
and degrees of contrast. Geometric formats, most notably those based on 
the grid, were used by Itten in his own work, from around 1916 (see cat. 
nos. 101, 102), and in exercises he assigned students. Such designs were 
valued as a means of simplifying the composition to allow for the study of 
the complex interrelationships of contrast and gradation. Thus they are 
frequently found at the Bauhaus, especially from 1921 when the influence of 
the Dutch De Stijl movement was strong. Chart-like presentations of color 
relationships were developed in particular by the student Ludwig Hirschfeld- 
Mack, who conducted a workshop on color in connection with Itten's Pre- 
liminary Course from 1921 to 1923. Hirschfeld-Mack's studies demonstrated 
contrasts, gradations and spatial illusions of colors in a variety of didactically 
effective formats (see cat. nos. 113-115). 

Kandinsky's Teaching and His Theory of Correspondences 

Concerning Kandinsky's teaching during the Weimar years of the Bauhaus 
little specific is known: the bulk of detailed evidence— his own course notes 
and publications as well as the surviving student exercises— is from the Des- 





fig. 2.0 

Gerhard Schunke 

Analytical Nature Drawing: Character 

of the Objects 

Ink on paper 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

fig. ii 
Maria Rasch 

Analytical Nature Drawing: Constructive 


Ink on paper 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

- 2 

fig. 22 

Maria Rasch 

Analytical Nature Drawing: Geometric 


Ink on paper 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

fig- z-3 

Ida Kerkovius 

Analytical Nature Drawing: Linear 


Ink on paper 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


77- "The Basic Elements of Form" and 
"Color Course and Seminar" ("Die 
Grundelemente der Form," "Farbkurs 
und Seminar" in Staatliches Bauhaus 
Weimar, 1919-1923J, Lindsay/Vergo, 
II, pp. 498-504. 

78. "Color Course and Seminar," 
Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 501. 

79. Notes by Irmgard Sorensen-Popitz, 
Bauhaus-Archiv Inv. Nr. 3958/1-9. 

80. An account of Kandinsky's early 
teaching of analytical drawing is 
found in Wolfgang Venzmer, "Holzel 
and Kandinsky as Teachers: An Inter- 
view with Vincent Weber," Art 
journal, vol. 43, Spring 1983, pp. 17- 
30. 1 am indebted to Peg Weiss, editor 
of this special issue on Kandinsky, for 
showing me the manuscript of this 
interview before publication. 

81. On the Spiritual in Art (liber das 
Geistige in der Kunst, Munich, 1911), 
Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 157-158. 

82. Ibid., p. 163. 

sau period. In general terms Kandinsky discussed his approach to teaching 
form and color in his contributions to the book published on the occasion of 
the large Bauhaus Ausstellung of August and September 19x3. 77 In these 
texts he stressed a systematic study of the elements, both in isolation and in 
their interrelationships. Regarding color he stated, "its characteristics, power, 
and effects" should be studied, and he believed that the same properties of 
form must be investigated. 78 Here Kandinsky meant the physiological and 
psychological properties, the perceptual and expressive effects of color and 
form: clearly an extension of the pedagogical formulations of his Russian 
period. Moreover, student notes taken in 1924 indicate that in discussing 
color phenomena, he relied heavily on his treatment of the subject in On the 
Spiritual in Art. 19 A specialized subject Kandinsky taught at the Bauhaus 
was analytical drawing, for which the students set up still lifes of ordinary 
domestic or studio objects and analyzed their shapes and interrelationships. 
Four of the student drawings were reproduced in the book published in con- 
junction with the Bauhaus Ausstellung (figs. 20-23). These show a simplifi- 
cation of outline and analysis of the structural networks inherent in the still- 
life arrangements, the more advanced examples revealing the freest abstrac- 
tion. 80 Subsequently, in Dessau, Kandinsky developed the study of analytical 
drawing more systematically. The linearism and graphic clarity of his own 
paintings, beginning as early as 1923, must have derived in part from the 
constructive geometry of the analytical drawings. 

A feature of Kandinsky's teaching that played a particularly visible role 
at the Weimar Bauhaus was his theory of the correspondence between the 
basic colors and forms. He involved the entire Bauhaus community in the 
subject through seminar discussions and the circulation of a questionnaire 
from the Wall-Painting Workshop (cat. no. 116). This survey, which, like the 
Inkhuk Questionnaire, attempted to scientifically verify artistic theory, uti- 
lized a form that presented the three basic shapes in outline. Participants were 
asked to fill in the shapes with the appropriate primary color and explain 
their choices. With the notable exceptions of Schlemmer and Klee, the re- 
spondents confirmed Kandinsky's theory of the essential affinity of yellow 
and the triangle, red and the square and blue and the circle. The concept of 
correspondence was based on the phenomena of synaesthesia, whereby ex- 
periences of one sense faculty affect another, which Kandinsky discussed in 
On the Spiritual in Art. Here he cited examples of synaesthesia, noting for 
instance, that bright yellow may be perceived as sour or can hurt the eye, 
"as a high note on the trumpet hurts the ear." 81 Accordingly, shapes and 
colors may share inherent characteristics, which are heightened when appro- 
priately combined. For example, "Sharp colors have a stronger sound in 
sharp forms (e.g., yellow in a triangle). The effect of deeper colors is empha- 
sized by rounded forms (e.g., blue in a circle)." 82 In the illustration for the 
Russian publication of On the Spiritual in Art and in his Inkhuk Program and 
Questionnaire, Kandinsky elaborated his concept. A reproduction in the 
book that accompanied the 1923 Bauhaus Ausstellung (cat. no. 319, see p. 
174) shows the canonical relationships and their extension to the three- 
dimensional shapes, pyramid, cube and sphere. 


These correspondences as well as contrary combinations of the shapes 
and colors appear in several designs created for the exhibition. Among the 
postcard announcements, Rudolf Baschant's bears red squares and a blue 
circle (cat. no. I2ie), while one of Herbert Bayer's has a blue triangle, a black 
circle and a red square (cat. no. i2if). Deviant combinations were as interest- 
ing as the standard ones, according to Kandinsky, because of the expressive 
effects of their inherent contrasts. 83 Bayer treated related ideas on a monu- 
mental scale in his designs for the staircase of the Bauhaus building, which 
were part of the wall-painting program for the exhibition. These were three 
large murals, one for each floor: the first a blue composition with circles; the 
second with images dominated by red and the square; the third yellow with 
triangles (cat. no. 119). In chromatic value and formal character alike, this 
ascending sequence represented the synaesthetic effect of progressive light- 

The theory of correspondence exemplifies Kandinsky's scientific atti- 
tudes toward art, for throughout his career he sought to formulate a science 
of art (Kunstwissenschaft). While he attempted to create a scientific basis for 
this theory through his systematic approach and use of questionnaires, it was 
an essentially subjective notion. The correspondences he posited could serve 
expressive ends in artistic usage, though the variables of context and possible 
combinations were so great that the results were unpredictable. Moreover, 
the "correct" combinations had no real usefulness in the design of practical 
objects beyond a simple graphic or decorative level. Nevertheless, Kandinsky 
taught the theory throughout his Bauhaus career and occasionally applied it 
in his own work. He valued the expressive effects that could be created 
through the application of the theory and believed that students should 
learn systematic approaches to formal elements before they became involved 
in the more intuitive process of creative design. 

83. "Analysis of the Primary Elements in 
Painting" ("Analyse des elements 
premiers de la peinture," Cahiers de 
Belgique, 1928), Lindsay/Vergo, II, 
p. 854. 

84. Important factors in the influence of 
De Stijl on the Bauhaus were the 
presence and activities of Theo van 
Doesburg, spokesman for the Dutch 
group, in Weimar from 1921-23. 

Early Bauhaus Design 

In its emphasis on the basic shapes and colors, Kandinsky's theory of corre- 
spondence accorded well with the elementarist tendency in design that pre- 
vailed at the Weimar Bauhaus, especially in the period about 1923 and 1924. 
Indeed, the basic shapes appear in many of the objects and works of art 
executed there. The ashtrays and teapot by Marianne Brandt, 1924 (cat. nos. 
127-129), products of the Metal Workshop, are good examples of this formal 
predilection, with their use of the triangle, cylinder, circle and semisphere. 
The wooden pieces of Josef Hartwig's chess set (cat. no. 126), which include 
cubes and pyramids, and the glass and chrome components of K.J. Jucker's 
and Wilhelm Wagenfeld's table lamp (cat. no. 124) indicate the variety of 
materials submitted to this normative geometry. The basic shapes and colors 
also were stressed in typography and graphic design, where the letter forms 
were made up of circular, square and triangular units (see cat. no. 122). In 
this context mention should be made of Schlemmer's costume designs for his 
Triadic Ballet, ca. 1922 (cat. nos. 134, 241), which transform the dancer's 
body into a series of abstract geometric shapes. 



Oskar Schlemmer 

Figure of a Youth in Components. 192.1 
Pencil and enamel on canvas 
Private Collection 

The Bauhaus emphasis on elementary geometry represents a continu- 
ation of the use of simple abstract forms by the Jugendstil artists at the 
beginning of the century for the purpose of reforming the elaborate design 
traditions of the nineteenth century. In its social idealism and belief that a 
standardized vocabulary of forms would create a unified visual environ- 
ment, the Bauhaus also reflected the point of view of the Werkbwid, the 
association of German designers and manufacturers that was dedicated to 
improving design and simplifying the forms of utilitarian objects so they 
could be mass produced. Bauhaus designs were meant to express modernity 
because, with their strict geometry, they were free of traditional ornament 
and embodied a new rationalism. The assumption was that these pure forms 
were more functional and better suited to mass production than traditional 
ones. Rather than simply resulting from a logical assessment of the function 
of an object or the process of fabrication, however, Bauhaus products and 
similar modernist designs in fact reflect a style, a preconceived attitude 
toward certain forms. This style expressed convictions about the nature of 
the modern world and a new rational democratic society. 

Bauhaus Masters 

The Bauhaus concern with geometry and the constructive principles it of- 
fered provided the background for Kandinsky's artistic development during 
his years at the school. This concern is visible not only in the utilitarian 
products but also in the representational and abstract art executed there. 
Feininger's views of German towns and his coastal and marine scenes con- 
tain large, simplified planes derived from the shapes in the landscape or city- 
scape subjects (cat. no. 133). These representational elements are much 
transformed, however, for they are rendered as flat, straight-edged shapes, 
frequently rectangles or triangles, and aligned so as to suggest an underlying 
grid. In many of his schematized images of the human form, Schlemmer uses 
the grid in a more explicit way than Feininger, subdividing the figure and 
locking it into a field of rectangular planes (fig. 24). Even when they are 
modeled slightly, the planes are nearly flat and are disposed parallel to the 
picture surface. Moreover, the figural components are shown frontally or in 
profile, thus according with the overall flatness. In his graphic works Schlem- 
mer often created a linear armature of interlocking shapes (cat. no. 135), a 
schematic integration of multiple forms paralleling that in the analytic draw- 
ings done in Kandinsky's classes. 

The grid was introduced at the Bauhaus by Itten as the basis for exer- 
cises in his course, but its implicit presence in Cubism and dominant role in 
the art and design of the De Stijl group assured its currency in the art created 
at the school. 84 The ways in which individual artists utilized the grid reveal 
how they conceived the role of geometry in the pictorial process. It could 
provide a simple armature for a graphic design or pictorial composition, or a 
basis for a complex interplay of structure and other visual elements. Klee 
probably used the grid more subtly and inventively than any other artist. 
Beginning as early as 1914, and especially during his Bauhaus years, he em- 


85. See Eva-Maria Triska, "Die Quadrat- 
bilder Paul Klees — ein Beispiel fur das 
Verhaltnis seiner Theorie zu seinem 
Werk" in Kunsthalle Koln, Paul Klee: 
Das Werk der Jahre 1919-1933, exh. 
«t., 1979, pp. 43-78. 

86. See The Thinking Eye, vol. 1 of Paul 
Klee Notebooks, Jiirg Spiller, ed., 
London and New York, 1961, pp. 421- 
429, 433-511; and Paul Klee, Beitrdge 
zur bildnerischen Fortnlehre, Jiirgen 
Glaesemer, ed., 1 vols., Basel and 
Stuttgart, 1979, facsimile vol., pp. 136- 
142, 153-190; transcription vol., 

PP- 73-75. 81-104. 

87. Jim M. Jordan, "The Structure of 
Paul Klee's Art in the Twenties: From 
Cubism to Constructivism," Arts 
Magazine, vol. 52, Sept. 1977, esp. 

p. 155. 

ployed this geometric device in his paintings. 85 In a number of examples 
from 1913, the proportions of the squares and rectangles vary considerably, 
and diagonal deflections or additional shapes such as triangles or half-circles 
are introduced, changing the rhythm and producing illusions of shallow 
depth. However, the alterations of the basic structure of the grid seem deter- 
mined primarily by the application of the different colors, and, indeed, the 
pictures can be seen as vehicles for color relationships and effects, subjects 
to which Klee devoted attention in his teaching. 86 Architecture, 192.3 (cat. 
no. 131), with its contrasts of yellow and violet and gradations of value and 
hue, owes the dynamism of its composition to the variety of its visual group- 
ings, degrees of contrast, and to its spatial effects. The inherent architectural 
associations of the grid are elicited by the vertical emphasis and the addition 
of the two triangles at the top, an example of the discovery of representa- 
tional implications in an abstract structure. This process reverses that of 
Feininger, who abstracts from the given visual world, and differs from 
Kandinsky's technique of including simplified representational motifs within 
an otherwise abstract imagery. 

A freer use of geometry by Klee is seen in works such as Red Balloon of 

1922 (cat. no. 130). In this painting the addition of the drawn elements of the 
tree and balloon rigging make the representational references of the geo- 
metric shapes explicit. The red circle here and the triangles in Architecture 
nevertheless remain, pure forms nudged into representational service by 
context or accompanying elements. The tension in the visual reading pro- 
vides much of the fascination of these paintings and of the lithograph Tight- 
rope Walker of 1923 (cat. no. 132), where the schematic image of a human 
face is submerged in the apparatus that supports the performer. This work 
is particularly interesting in its use of a disembodied and contradictory per- 
spective derived from Constructivism. To be sure, Klee's sets of converging 
lines floating in space have a representational function, however ambiguous 
they may be, whereas the Constructivists' linear structures are entirely non- 
objective. 87 Klee's playful and inventive manipulation of geometry and as- 
sociative elements reveals his belief in the dual nature of artistic creativity, 
which, he maintained, involves both systematic knowledge of the formal 
elements and intuition in utilizing them for expressive effect. This belief 
was held also by Kandinsky and the other Bauhaus artists who shared a 
background in Expressionism. 

Moholy-Nagy, on the other hand, gave primacy to rationality in the 
artistic process and objectivity in the study of visual phenomena. He had 
been deeply influenced by Suprematism and Constructivism, particularly 
through Ivan Puni and Lissitzky, both of whom he knew when he lived in 
Berlin from 1921 to 1923. His appointment to the Bauhaus in the spring of 

1923 to replace Itten signaled the shift away from Expressionism in the 
school's program that Gropius desired. Moholy-Nagy's interests in photo- 
graphy, typography and industrial design accorded with the growing em- 
phasis on technical and utilitarian aspects of design at the Bauhaus. In 
addition to his activities in these fields, he continued to create works of fine 
art that reflected the influence of the Russian avant-garde. The precision 


of line and clarity of the simple geometric shapes in his works show that he 
espoused the technical aesthetic offered by compass and ruler, as it had been 
introduced by Rodchenko and developed by Lissitzky. His groupings of 
circles and half-circles, lines and bars float against white or, occasionally, 
black backgrounds, which simultaneously appear to be flat surfaces and 
infinite space (cat. nos. 137, 138; fig. 25). The formal exactitude of his art and 
the ways it differs from Kandinsky's despite certain shared vocabulary, are 
illuminated by Moholy's concept of construction, which was influenced by 
the Russians. According to Moholy, a thorough knowledge of the physical 
and perceptual properties involved in the work is required of the artist and a 
construction is ideally "predetermined at every point of its technical and 
intellectual relations." 88 Kandinsky's opposing view that construction is 
subordinate to composition allowed intuition a more important role in the 
creation of art, and he was subsequently to criticize the Constructivists for 
relying too much on reason and calculation in the use of geometry. 89 


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 

DIV. 1922 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 

Buffalo, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews 

Fund, 1973 

Von Material zu Architektur, Bau- 
hausbiicher 14, Munich, 1929; 
English translation, The New Vision: 
From Material to Architecture, New 
York, 1930, p. 59. 

. "Reflections on Abstract Art," Lind- 
say/Vergo, II, p. 759. 

Kandinsky's Art, 1923-1925 

Thus, the Bauhaus provided a context in which a range of artistic points 
of view were allowed to flourish, within the parameters of a commitment to 
geometric forms and structural principles. Here, as elsewhere in Europe 
where abstract art was developing in the teens and twenties, it was believed 
that geometry provided a universal language. The goal of the Bauhaus was to 
formulate a theory of the visual elements that would constitute the common 
basis for practice in both art and design and permit collaborative work and 
the creation of an integrated design environment. The artists at the school 
contributed toward this end through their pedagogical and creative work. In 
this context Kandinsky was able not only to develop his theoretical ideas, but 
also his art. He accomplished this in 1923, in the months during which the 
preparations for the Bauhaus Ausstellung were taking place and when the 
influence of De Stijl and Constructivism began to be felt strongly at the 
school. At this time Kandinsky created a more consistently geometric ab- 
stract style, which clearly showed the elements he had absorbed from the 
Russian avant-garde while it maintained his personal commitment to richly 
complex pictorial composition. In a series of major works executed from 
February through July 1923, he consolidated the geometric tendencies that 
had been developing in his art from 1919 and brought to the fore the sche- 
matic construction and other theoretical principles he emphasized in his 
teaching at the school. 

The major picture painted just prior to this sequence, In the Black Circle 
of January 1923 (cat. no. 143), shows irregular and mottled forms familiar 
in earlier works, but introduces the circle as a prominent motif: this 
shape was to play an important role in many of Kandinsky's works of the 
Bauhaus period. Here it appears as a geometric version of the irregular oval 
that bore the central imagery in the bordered pictures of the Russian years. 
The atmospheric depth provided by the black background and the modu- 
lated areas is in marked contrast to the two dimensionality of the key works 


fig. 26 

Vasily Kandinsky 

On Gray. 1923 


Oil on canvas 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 

90. Pankt und Linie zu Flache, Bauhaus- 
biicher 9, Munich, 1926, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, pp. 603-608. 

91. Peg Weiss has proposed in "En- 
counters and Transformations" in 
Guggenheim Museum, Kandinsky in 
Munich, pp. 30, 82, that the forms 

in this painting derive ultimately from 
those — such as the circle and diag- 
onal lance — associated with the horse- 
man St. George in works from the 
Munich period. This thesis is, 
in my opinion, unconvincing, 
especially in view of the absence of 
the dragon motif and the application 
of a different color to the circle — 
yellow rather than blue. (That blue is 
the suitable color for the circle in a 
transformation of the St. George 
motif is shown by the clearest 
early example, the blue ovoid form 
behind the horse and rider in Painting 
with White Border.) The crucial 
problem here is that the evidence 

that followed. A transition to these was provided by On Gray (fig. 26), a 
painting that recapitulated and developed the important picture of 1919, 
White Oval (Black Border) (fig. 5), in which Kandinsky had introduced 
clearer forms and structure. In On Gray he further regularized the forms and 
simplified the composition of the earlier painting and added numerous pure 
geometric elements. Kandinsky said his "cool period"— the more geometric 
style that culminated in 1923— began in 1919; therefore he must have con- 
sciously chosen to revise a work from that year and then paint his next 
picture, On White (cat. no. 144), in a mode closer to Suprematism than any 
other of his career. On White— with its crisply defined flat planes, overlap- 
ping triangular and trapezium shapes, its floating suspension on a white 
background, axial shifts and peripheral forms that seem to disperse— is clearly 
indebted to the work of Malevich and Popova. However, the multiplication 
of forms and inclusion of idiosyncratic shapes, as well as the building up of 
planes in many layers indicate that he appropriated the Russians' style to 
his personal idiom. 

Complexity and diversity are taken to an extreme in the painting that 
followed, Traversing Line, 1923 (cat. no. 145), which contains a sequence of 
large shapes that underly the composition: the tan trapezium suggesting a 
square tilted and warped in space, the pale yellow triangle and the circle. 
These elementary forms, of course, were of central importance in Kandinsky's 
activities at the Bauhaus during this year and indicated his commitment to 
geometry, though his use of the trapezium for the square suggests that he 
was making a point about pictorial art and its spatial illusionism. This 
group of shapes had been used also by Russians such as Kliun. Other forms 
with which Kandinsky was concerned during the Bauhaus years appear 


• I 1 

. uL 1 

fig- 17 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Study for "Painting with White Border." 


Pencil on paper 

Collection Stadtische Galerie im Lenbach- 

haus, Munich 

must be especially good to prove that 
the symbolic St. George motif occurs 
in the Bauhaus work, given Kandin- 
sky's repeated advocacy of abstract 
art as well as the preponderance of 
abstract imagery in his pictures of the 
Weimar period in particular. Simi- 
larly dubious, it seems to me, is 
Weiss's interpretation of Yellow- 
Red-Blue, 1925, as combining a 
reference to a guardian figure — the 
two rectangles in the yellow portion 
of the work presumably recalling the 
guardian's sword and its hilt — and 
St. George and the dragon — the latter 
pair no longer opponents, but unac- 
countably nestled together as blue 
circle and complex curve, Ibid. Kan- 
dinsky's sequences and contrasts of 
abstract qualities and their psycholog- 
ical reverberations are thus read 
rather literally as symbols ultimately 
derived from narrative art. 

92. Grohmann, p. 188. 

here: the grid rendered in perspective and the whiplash curve. These repre- 
sent, respectively, movement into depth and movement on the surface of a 
more tensile and varied character, as the diagrams of complex curves in 
Point and Line to Plane indicate. 90 These two elements reflect Kandinsky's 
debts to both Constructivism and Jugendstil. The crisscrossing sets of con- 
verging lines in the lower right are also borrowed from Constructivism, from 
Rodchenko in particular, and the contradictory spatial readings they sug- 
gest play an important role in the succeeding paintings. Another major 
feature here is the use of long diagonal lines to link separate parts of the 
composition or create divergent axes. In these lines are realized on a grand 
scale the compositional diagrams of Kandinsky's late Munich period (for 
example, fig. 27) and the schematic constructions of the analytical drawings 
executed at the Bauhaus. Traversing Line is, indeed, a pivotal work, for it 
brings up to date elements from Kandinsky's artistic past and embodies 
aspects of his teaching. Its surfeit of forms, which includes the trapezium and 
circle bearing pictures within the picture, makes this a disconcerting and yet 
impressive work, one that was crucial to Kandinsky's development during 
his Weimar period. 

In June and July 192.3, shortly after Traversing Line was completed, 
Kandinsky painted In the Black Square, Composition 8 and Circles in a Cir- 
cle (cat. nos. 146, 147, 150). These three works are clearer in composition and 
somewhat simpler in their array of forms than Traversing Line and represent 
the culmination of the geometric tendency of the period. Basic shapes and 
straight and curved lines predominate in these paintings, and their black 
lines against white or light backgrounds maintain a schematic and rigorous 
quality. The large size and transparency of many of the forms and their 
open distribution across the picture plane give these compositions a monu- 
mentality and an expansiveness despite their relative flatness. Whereas cer- 
tain abstract features of the series derive from Russian precedents, their 
vertically positioned triangles and planetary circles refer to landscape. In 
addition, in Composition 8 the delicate modulation of the background from 
white to pale blue at the bottom and yellow at the top suggests atmospheric 
space. Nevertheless, the transparency of forms, their rigorous definition and 
floating quality maintain the abstract character of the works. 

Clusters of lines and overlapping circles in the three canvases are strongly 
reminiscent of elements in Rodchenko's works, but these features have been 
integrated into the variety of other forms. Moreover, the trapezoidal white 
field of In the Black Square is Kandinsky's ultimate synthesis of that Su- 
prematist shape and his own formulation of the pictures with borders. Here 
the narrowness of the border heightens the tension between the black square 
and trapezoid, rendering ambiguous the spatial reading; it is uncertain 
whether the white field lies in front or behind the black border. Finally, with 
its sharp oppositions of black and white and bright colors, /;; the Black 
Square shows the most dramatic contrasts of the series. 91 

Composition 8 was regarded by Kandinsky "as the high point of his 
postwar achievement," according to Will Grohmann, his principal con- 
temporary biographer and critic. 92 Large in size and carefully planned, as 


fig. 28 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Study for "Composition 8." 1923 

Watercolor on paper 

Collection Galleria Galatea, Turin 

93. On the Spiritual in Art, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, p. 218. Composition 8 is the 
only picture from the Russian and 
Bauhaus periods designated a "Com- 
position," although Kandinsky 
originally gave this title to a painting 
of 1920; however he later changed its 
name to Spitzes Schweben (Pointed 
Hovering, HL 228). The fact that the 
new title was given in German indi- 
cates that the decision was made 
while he was at the Bauhaus, possibly 
when he was giving the title Compo- 
sition 8 to the new work. 

94. Point and Line to Plane, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, p. 600. 

95. Cf. Kandinsky's notes on the quali- 
ties of the basic shapes in his class 
notes, "Cours du Bauhaus" in Philip- 
pe Sers, ed., Wassily Kandinsky: 
Ecrits complets, Paris 1975, vol. 3, 
pp. 254-255 (class of Sept. n, 1925). 

evidenced by the existence of a small squared drawing for the entire picture 
(cat. no. 148) and a watercolor that closely anticipates the right side (fig. z8), 
the painting fulfills the criteria he had formulated during his Munich period 
for designating a work as a "Composition": "The expressions of feelings that 
have been forming within me ...(.. . over a very long period of time), which, 
after the first preliminary sketches, I have slowly and almost pedantically 
examined and worked out." 93 Composition 8 transforms the mountain and 
sky imagery of Kandinsky's earlier work into the abstract style of the years 
immediately following the Russian period. 

The importance of Composition 8 lies also in its embodiment of Kan- 
dinsky's theories. Its forms are predominantly angular and circular, repre- 
senting what he considered "the two primary, most strongly contrasting plane 
figures," the triangle and circle. 94 Corresponding to the colors yellow and 
blue, these shapes possessed for him the polar qualities of sharpness, warmth 
and advancing and eccentric movement, versus coldness and retreating and 
concentric movement. 95 In addition, the triangle, when pointing upward as 
here, was characterized by stability and ascension, and the circle, by eccentric 
as well as concentric movement, both stability and instability, as well as 
freedom from gravity. As always for Kandinsky, these properties of forms 
were influenced by colors, warm colors advancing, expanding and rising, 
cool colors receding, contracting and descending. Composition 8 offers a 
variety of combinations of colors and basic shapes, especially for the many 
circles. Thus one can witness these effects here, particularly the spatial ones, 
which are also influenced by the placement of the shapes in higher or lower 
positions within the composition. Furthermore, interactions of particular 
colors with surrounding or neighboring colors affect chromatic character- 
istics such as warmth and intensity, phenomena demonstrated by the rings or 
halos around many of the circles. These interrelationships among colors and 


96. On the Spiritual in Art. Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, pp. 171, 178-179. 

97. Ibid., pp. 2.15-Z18. 

98. "Abstract Art," Lindsay/Vergo, II, 
p. 516. 

99. Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 548. 

forms were valued by Kandinsky for creating rich "contrapuntal" effects. 96 
Comparison of this series with pure nonobjective Constructivist works 
by artists such as Rodchenko and Moholy-Nagy shows great differences. 
Even at an abstract level, Kandinsky's space often conveys the feeling of 
landscape by means of overlapping planes and the placement of small forms 
near the top of the composition that suggests distance. The formal economy of 
the Constructivists' works maintains their character as direct presentations 
of pure geometry and, incidentally, prompted Kandinsky to designate them 
as "experiments" in the 1921 interview. Thus they are more straightforward 
and literal than Kandinsky's complex paintings, which incorporate not 
only illusionism but a hierarchy of forms and multiple relationships, includ- 
ing sets and series of forms and chromatic interactions. Even the works that 
are closest in style to Constructivism, such as Circles in a Circle from July 
1923, illustrate these distinguishing characteristics. In Circles in a Circle 
there are an abundance of elements, a hierarchy of circles of different sizes 
and an illusion of aerial space, which is enhanced by the perspectival effect 
created by the intersecting colored bands. 

Kandinsky's theoretical statements about composition elucidate the na- 
ture of his works from 1923. In On the Spiritual in Art he had discussed a 
kind of "complex composition," which he called "symphonic" and identified 
with his own recent paintings. 97 Concerning the basic structure of a com- 
position and the interrelationship of the elements, he wrote, "One finds 
primitive geometric forms or a structure of simple lines serving the general 
movement. This general movement is repeated in the individual parts, and 
sometimes varied by means of individual lines or forms." Such an analysis 
is clearly applicable to paintings such as Traversing Line (cat. no. 145) and 
Composition 8. In writings from the Bauhaus period he linked content and 
composition, which he characterized as the "elements and construction . . . 
subordinated to a mysterious law of pulsation." 98 This expressive energy 
comes ultimately from the inherent forces or tensions of the elements, their 
psychological and perceptual effects. Accordingly, in Point and Line to Plane 
he stated: "The content of a work finds expression in composition, i.e., in the 
inwardly organized tensions necessary in this [particular] work." 99 It was to 
attain rich expressive effect, therefore, that Kandinsky utilized the complexity 
and variety of "symphonic" composition. 

In Composition 8 the expression is determined by elements such as the 
ascendant acute pink angle, the calmer obtuse blue angle and the "cosmic" 
cluster of circles glowing and pulsating in the upper left. Dramatic accents 
are supplied by the vibrant smaller circles, the one freely curving line and the 
skewed checkerboard fragments. A special note is provided by the combina- 
tion of small but vivid shapes, near the top of the painting: a yellow triangle 
and the ring of a blue circle that touch. For Kandinsky the combination of 
triangle and circle creates the strongest and most evocative contrast, exem- 
plifying the power of abstract forms and their interactions. In this instance, 
the choice of colors is dictated by his theory of correspondence, and thus 
enhances the polarity of the shapes. Though the generic landscape reference 
in Compositioft 8 serves as a kind of framework for the painting, the essential 


ioo. Sers, pp. 147, 250 (class of Jan. 26, 

101. Kandinsky's answer to the question- 
naire in Paul Plaut, Die Psychologie 
der produktiven Personlichkeit, 1929, 
Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 739. 

102. Rudenstine, Guggenheim Museum 
Collection, I, pp. 309-311, 323-325, 
reviews Kandinsky's use of the circle 
as a dominant motif, his statements 
concerning this shape and the related 
art-historical literature. 

103. Kandinsky had prepared this state- 
ment so it could be used in Groh- 
mann's 1930 monograph on him; 
"Lieber Freund . . ." Kunstler schrei- 
ben an Will Grohmann, Karl Gutbrod, 
ed., Cologne, 1968, p. 56 (Oct. 12, 
1930); English translation in Groh- 
mann, 1958, pp. 187-188. As the rest 
of the statement makes clear, Kan- 
dinsky's assertion that he used the 
circle "above all formally" was not 
meant in a narrow sense, for he 
valued the "inner force" of this ab- 
stract form, as he said in his answer 
to Plaut's questionnaire. There he 
continued, "I love circles today in the 
same way that previously I loved, e.g., 
horses — perhaps even more, since I 
find in circles more inner possibilities, 
which is the reason why the circle has 
replaced the horse": Lindsay/Vergo, 
II, p. 740. By this he did not mean 
that the circle retained from the 
Munich-period works the specific 
significance of the horse, that is, 
especially, its associations with St. 
George, who symbolized the conquest 
of the spiritual over the dragon of 
materialism. Kandinsky's statements 
on the circle should be read as pro- 
claiming the eclipse not only of 
naturalism but also of iconography 

in any traditional sense by virtue of 
the capacity of geometric form to 
convey abstract, largely ineffable 
meanings. For the argument that the 
circle essentially represents a continu- 
ation of the horse motif rather than 
truly "replacing" such elements, see 
Weiss, 1979, pp. 128-132. Lindsay 
interpreted the symbolism of Kandin- 
sky's use of such geometric forms 
more generally: "Les Themes de 
l'inconscient" in "Centenaire de 
Kandinsky," 1966, pp. 48 ff. 

content is abstract. That Kandinsky meant to convey abstract ideas or feel- 
ings in his painting is indicated by his teaching and writings of the Bauhaus 
period. For example, he assigned his students a set of exercises in which 
combinations of the basic shapes create an expression of aggression when 
the triangle is dominant, of calm with the square dominant, and of interior- 
ization or deepening with the circle dominant. 100 Similarly, in a statement of 
1929 Kandinsky listed general affective qualities as "the basic character of 
the picture," maintaining that the artist "tries to achieve the clearest possible 
expression of this basic idea (e.g., dark, warm, very controlled, radiant, in- 
troverted, restrained, aggressive, 'disharmonious,' concealed, overpowering, 
etc.). This is what is called 'mood' . . . ." 101 

The importance of circles in the works of 1923 anticipates the dominant 
role they play in many pictures through the twenties, in a number of which, 
most notably Several Circles of 1926 (cat. no. 188), they constitute the sole 
motif. 102 By 1930 he was able to formulate verbally the range of meanings 
this shape could convey, a content of an abstract psychological or symbolic 
character, subject to the influence of the chromatic or formal treatment and 
context provided in the work. In a letter to Will Grohmann he wrote con- 
cerning the circle: 

It is a link with the cosmic. But I use it above all formally .... 
Why does the circle fascinate me? It is: 

1. the most modest form, but asserts itself unconditionally, 

2. precise, but inexhaustibly variable, 

3. simultaneously stable and unstable, 

4. simultaneously loud and soft, 

j. a simple tension that carries countless tensions within it. 
The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the 
concentric and the eccentric in a single form, and in equilibrium. Of the 
three primary forms, it points most clearly to the fourth dimension. 103 

Though painted seven years before these ideas were articulated, Composi- 
tion 8 and Circles in a Circle exemplify the use of the circle as a cosmic 
image and attest to the range of its possible variations. In the first the form 
appears within an abstract landscape context and in the second in a man- 
dala-like format characterized by central focus, symmetry and an encom- 
passing ring. 

Kandinsky's works from the remainder of the Weimar period, which 
concluded in June 1925, basically continued the abstract style of 1923, though 
certain changes appear. These changes prompted the artist to remark in a let- 
ter to Grohmann of January 31, 1924, that he now departed often from his 
"cool period," which he here stated had begun in 1921. The chromatic rich- 
ness of Blue Painting (fig. 16), embodied in the varying shades of blue in its 
background, represents a development away from the starker pictures with 
light grounds that preceded it and anticipates In Blue of the following year 
(cat. no. 156). In spite of its light background and schematic linear elements, 
Yelloiv Accompaniment, 1924 (cat. no. 152), carries this development further, 
in its dominant color relationship of the blue and violet cross-shape against 


fig. 29 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Black Relationship. 1924 
Watercolor on paper 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Acquired through the 
Lillie P. Bliss Bequest 

104. Kandinsky dated the foreword to the 
book "Weimar 1923, Dessau 1926," 
the latter being the year the book was 
published, Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 530. 
In letters to Grohmann he reported 
his progress with the writing of the 
manuscript: by July 16, 1925, he had 
begun, and by Nov. 3 the work was 
completed. These letters are in the 
Grohmann-Archiv, Staatsgalerie 
Stuttgart, and copies are in the library 
of The Museum of Modern Art, New 

105. Point and Line to Plane, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, pp. 639-655. 

106. Ibid., p. 6^6, pi. 23. 

the yellow of the ground. Moreover, the density of overlaid planes, shapes 
and lines in Yellow Accompaniment is in marked contrast to the clarity of the 
more openly distributed forms in works such as Composition 8. This com- 
pacting of forms appears also in One Center, 1924 (cat. no. 154), whose con- 
centric motif and curving lines and shapes shown against a dark background 
constitute a response to the radial arrangement and straight and angular 
elements in Yellow Accompaniment . Formal and chromatic polarities be- 
come the main themes of certain subsequent works. Unlike the oils of 1914, 
the watercolors Black Relationship (fig. 29) and Elementary Effect (cat. no. 
155) have an almost didactic clarity and they embody simple oppositions: 
the single black circle versus a cluster of angular colored forms in the first, 
the ringed greenish yellow circle contrasted to the horizontal black bar in the 
second. Somewhat more complex formally and coloristically is the painting 
Pointed and Round of 1925 (cat. no. 157). 

Pointed and Round and Above and Left (cat. no. 158), the picture that 
immediately followed it, as well as a number of other works from the first 
half of 1925, are particularly close to Kandinsky's theoretical formulations 
in Point and Line to Plane. In fact, this was the period just preceding the 
drafting of the manuscript, which he was to undertake in the summer and 
fall of the year, right after he moved to Dessau. 104 In 1923 Kandinsky had 
begun to rework the notes made in Goldach in 1914 and thus was involved 
with this project concurrent with his teaching and painting. He seems to 
have conceived the works from the last part of the Weimar period in terms 
of his theories, and the didactic character of some of them, therefore, can 
be attributed to this preoccupation. Pointed and Round, for instance, pre- 
sents the elemental contrast between triangular and circular forms, elabo- 
rated by tapering lines and a complex free curving line. Above and Left 
reflects Kandinsky's complicated theories about the characteristics of dif- 
ferent parts of the picture plane. He considered the lower right quadrant 
the heaviest, densest and most resistant at the picture's boundaries, while the 
upper left quadrant was the lightest and most diffuse. 105 Therefore, a strong 
contrast existed between them, as differentiated from the milder contrast 
between the lower left and upper right quadrants. A diagonal linking the 
two powerfully opposing corners, thus, was "unharmonic" and dramatic, 
whereas a diagonal connecting the other corners was "harmonic" and lyrical. 
In its composition Above and Left embodies this theory by including the 
dramatic diagonal from lower right to upper left as well as counter diag- 
onals. Moreover, the two equilateral triangles represent the directions re- 
ferred to in the title, the green one acting as an arrow indicating ascent, the 
yellow pointing left, "toward the far-away." Both directions connote free- 
dom, according to Point and Line to Plane. Another work related to the book 
is Black Triangle (cat. no. 159); in fact, a very faithful diagram of the painting 
entitled "Inner Relationship between complex of straight lines and curve" 
is used as an illustration for the treatise. 10 * 5 In both the drawing and the 
painting, the interconnected lines are like the students' analytical drawings, 
and the image, in which the geometric forms comprise a standing figure, 
anticipates the abstract signs and figures of the later twenties. 


By virtue of its size and complexity, the culminating picture of 192.5 is 
Yellow -Red-Blue (cat. no. 196). Its richly varied color and dense accumula- 
tion of large-scale forms are very different from the more severe organization 
and color and the open linear network of Composition 8. The program- 
matic title refers to the color sequence Kandinsky presented in Point and 
Line to Plane and embodied in the painting as well as in numerous student 
exercises for his courses. 107 While circles play a major role here, along with 
square and rectangular forms, there are also prominent irregular shapes, 
such as the monumental undulating black line at the right. The variety of 
forms and the range of modulated color, which in the background creates 
atmospheric spatial effects, give this imposing work the richness character- 
istic of the later Weimar period. 

AND BERLIN, 1925-1933 

107. Ibid., pp. 578-579. 

108. Nina Kandinsky, p. 119. 

109. For detailed discussion of Kandin- 
sky's several courses and of the stu- 
dent exercises see my book 
Kandinsky — Unterricht, which also 
contains a catalogue of the exercises 
in the collection of the Bauhaus- 
Archiv, Berlin. Kandinsky's notes are 
published, in the sequence in which 
they were found in his files rather 
than arranged more strictly by course 
or by chronology, in Sers, pp. 157-391. 

Forced to leave Weimar in mid-1925 by the actions of the right-wing ma- 
jority in the Thuringian state parliament, the Bauhaus moved to the industrial 
city of Dessau. Here the school reached its apogee, its modernist approach 
to design symbolized by its famous building (cat. no. 163), designed by Gro- 
pius and completed in 1926. A paradigmatic Bauhaus design product was exe- 
cuted here. Marcel Breuer's tubular metal armchair (cat. no. 176): its modern 
material, potential for mass production, lightness, cubic shape and openness 
epitomize the school's aesthetic and functionalist ideals. Kandinsky was the 
first person to purchase an example of the chair; hence the naming of the 
model the "Wassily" chair when it was again produced commercially dec- 
ades later. 108 

During the Dessau period Kandinsky wrote Point and Line to Plane, 
which appeared in the Bauhaus Book series, as well as a number of articles, 
three of which were published in the journal Bauhaus. He systematized his 
teaching, and from this time have survived well over two hundred student 
exercises, in addition to his own pedagogical notes. 109 This was also a very 
productive period for Kandinsky's art. After he applied in his painting the 
abstract principles articulated in Point and Line to Plane and in his teaching, 
he developed a diverse set of pictorial images and modes. Some of these 
represent particular responses to the Bauhaus context and to his colleagues, 
most notably Klee. 

Kandinsky stayed at the Bauhaus through its closing in Dessau on Oc- 
tober 1, 1932, which was decreed by the National Socialist majority on the 
city legislature. He then moved with the school to Berlin, where it reopened 
as a private institution in mid-October, remaining there until July 1933, 
when it was closed for good by the Nazis following their assumption of 
power. Kandinsky's tenure, therefore, lasted through the directorships of 
Gropius, of architect Hannes Meyer, who succeeded him from 1928 to 1930, 
and of Mies van der Rohe for the remainder of the school's existence. After 
the move to Dessau the Bauhaus was oriented primarily toward practical and 


fig. 30 

Marcel Breuer 

Chair for Kandinsky's Dessau Dining, 
Room. 1926 

Wood, metal and black fabric 
Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 
(cat. no. 175) 

no. Meyer's appointment began Apr. 1, 
1927. Kandinsky's course began May 
16 of that year: Sers, pp. 370 ff. 

in. "And, Some Remarks on Synthetic 
Art" ("Und, Einiges iiber synthetische 
Kunst," ho, 1927), Lindsay/Vergo, II, 
p. 715, note. I have given a more 
literal translation here, however. 

112. Regarding the students' work see 
Peter Hahn, "Zur Einfuhrung" and 
catalogue in Galleria del Levante, 
Munich, Junge Maler am Bauhaus, 
exh. cat., 1979, n.p. Kandinsky's 
remark was quoted by Grohmann in 
"Art into Architecture: The Bauhaus 
Ethos," Apollo, vol. bcxvi, Mar. 1962, 

113. Nina Kandinsky, p. 119. 

114. Sers, p. 327 (class of May 18, 1928). 

115. 1 have discussed the Bauhaus ap- 
proach to color in architecture in 
Color Theories, chap. 4, and in High 
Museum, Bauhaus Color, pp. 38-39. 

technical goals. Yet shortly after Meyer came to the school in the spring of 
1927 to institute an architecture department, Kandinsky began to teach his 
Free Painting seminar. 110 In the context of an institution devoted to applied 
art and design, courses of this kind seemed anomalous, but for Kandinsky 
and his like-minded colleagues, they provided a balance to technical concerns. 
As he expressed this position, "The student should receive, more than pro- 
fessional training, a broadened synthesizing education. Ideally he should be 
endowed not only as a specialist but as a new person." 111 In addition to Kan- 
dinsky's course, Klee taught a painting class and Joost Schmidt a sculpture 
class, all of which were optional. That interest in the fine arts was strong at 
the Bauhaus is indicated by the exhibitions held at the school and elsewhere 
which included paintings by students and faculty alike. Kandinsky even re- 
marked, somewhat hyperbolically, "Everyone paints at the Bauhaus." 112 

Kandinsky's Apartment, Bauhaus Masters' House 

In addition to the Bauhaus building itself, Gropius designed a house for the di- 
rector and three double houses for Bauhaus masters. In mid-June 1926 Kan- 
dinsky and his wife moved into one of these houses, which they shared with 
Klee and his family. The other houses were occupied by Moholy-Nagy and 
Feininger, Georg Muche and Schlemmer and their families. In the furnishing 
and color treatment of his half of the three-story building, Kandinsky ad- 
hered to a certain extent to the aesthetic of the Bauhaus, and also asserted his 
own point of view. He and his wife utilized their antiques and traditional 
furniture, except in the dining room, where furniture designed by Breuer 
was used (cat. nos. 167-169, 175). The table, with its cantilevered circular top, 
square base and tubular metal legs and stand, was a typical Breuer design, an 
example of which was also used in Moholy's dining room. The chairs (see fig. 
39), on the other hand, were unique and were designed following Kandinsky's 
instructions. 113 Though awkward as chair designs, they are interesting for 
their compositions comprised of the five circles of the round white-rimmed 
black seats and the white disks atop the tubular legs. The black of the end 
wall and the cabinet continues the black-white color scheme. The wall color 
was probably chosen as a setting for one of his own paintings: On White and 
Three Sounds can be seen in surviving photographs of the room (for example, 
cat. nos. 167, 168); and black in fact was the background against which 
Kandinsky felt colors seem particularly vivid. Moreover, as he said to his 
class, the black-white combination provided an effect of clarity and concise- 
ness, which he believed expressed the modern spirit. 114 

His use of different colors for different planes in the apartment interiors 
reflected the Bauhaus approach to the use of color in architecture, a point of 
view to which he contributed while master of the Wall-Painting Workshop in 
Weimar. 115 Alfred Arndt's Color Design for the Exterior of The Masters' 
Houses, Dessau, 1926 (cat. no. 178), exemplifies the principle of distinguish- 
ing the planes and elements of architectural exteriors in order to create a 
three-dimensional composition. Under the influence of De Stijl and of the 
German architect Bruno Taut, this concept was put into practice by the 


n6. Sers, p. 327, and Nina Kandinsky, 
pp. 118-119. 

117. Ibid., p. 332 (class of May 18, 1918). 
Kandinsky's opposition to Meyer 
eventually went beyond his advocat- 
ing the precedence of artistic values 
over socially relevant practical ends. 
He apparently played a part in the de- 
cision of the Dessau City Council to 
dismiss Meyer as director on the 
grounds that he encouraged left-wing 
politics at the school: see Poling, 
Kandinsky — Unterricht, p. 148, note 

118. Cf. Marcel Franciscono, "Paul Klee 
in the Bauhaus: The Artist as Law- 
giver," Arts Magazine, vol. lii, 
Sept. 1977, pp. 122-127. 

Bauhaus Wall-Painting Workshop, but in the new buildings in Dessau it was 
applied only in interiors. Gropius, like many of his contemporaries among 
International Style architects, preferred the plastic unity created by all-white 
exteriors. A design by the student Vladas Svipas and Kandinsky for the lat- 
ter's studio in the Masters' House, apparently never executed, is a good ex- 
ample of Bauhaus wall-painting: the walls and other features of the interior 
are differentiated and yet interrelated by two shades of blue, several tones of 
gray, and black and white (cat. no. 177). Kandinsky's living room was painted 
according to his design. The walls were light pink, except for the short wall 
behind the divan, which was ivory white, the doors were black, the ceiling, 
gray, and a niche was covered with goldleaf. The softness and immateriality 
of the pink contrasted with the coldness of the black and white of the ad- 
jacent dining room. The gray contributed a lightness and the gold a sense of 
weight. 116 Through these elements he wished to achieve a complex interre- 
lationship of qualities similar to those in his paintings and ultimately deriving 
from the synaesthetic effects of the colors. 

Thus Kandinsky's primary goal in the color design of interiors was not 
the formal articulation of the architecture nor the creation of spatial effects. 
He wanted this design to produce an expressive and dematerializing effect 
and to create thereby a synthetic work of art, the realization of which re- 
mained one of his fundamental ideals. His concept of wall-painting was char- 
acteristic of his response to the prevailing attitude at the Bauhaus. Rather 
than embracing utilitarian or functionalist goals, he insisted on the validity 
not only of teaching artistic principles but also of applying them to the 
practical realm so as to transform it into a vehicle for aesthetic and expres- 
sive aims. He also expressed this point of view in the way he analyzed utili- 
tarian objects in class. For instance, he compared Breuer's tubular armchair, 
Mies's Weissenhof armchair (cat. no. 305) and a traditional club armchair, 
explaining that the older chair expressed the downward pull of gravity, 
while the modern ones counteracted this feeling and achieved a sense of an 
upward movement. The Mies chair especially had embodied this vertical 
character for Kandinsky, transforming the "material" nature of the seated 
position into an "abstract" quality. In this way he asserted his opposition to 
the primacy of material, technical and social concerns during the period of 
Meyer's directorship, when discussions of this sort were frequently intro- 
duced by Kandinsky in his classes. 117 

Point and Line to Plane 

Kandinsky's Bauhaus Book was his principal contribution to the realization 
of a "science of art," a goal he had long projected in his writings and which 
Gropius and others at the school sought as well. "Scientific" in the sense of 
the German word Wissenschaft, which does not necessarily entail the strict 
verification required in the natural sciences and can be applied to humanistic 
studies, this text is systematic in the logical, progressive development of its 
material. 118 Kandinsky's concepts were based on his own careful observations 
and his readings in perceptual psychology and artistic theory from the nine- 


119- See Kandinsky's chart in "And, 
Some Remarks on Synthetic Art," 
Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 709. 

120. Schlemmer's collage was part of his 
humorous presentation 9 Jahre 
Bauhaus, at the party given on the 
occasion of Gropius's departure 
from the Bauhaus: Karin von Maur 
in Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Klee und 
Kandinsky , Erinnerung an eine 
Kiinstlerfrenndschaft, exh. cat., 
1979. PP- 88-90. 

121. "Little Articles on Big Questions: . . . 
On Line," Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 424- 
425; and "Program for the Institute of 
Artistic Culture," Lindsay/Vergo, I, 
P- 459- 

122. Marianne L. Teuber, "New Aspects 
of Paul Klee's Bauhaus Style" in Des 
Moines Arts Center, Paul Klee: 
Paintings and Watercolors from the 
Bauhaus Years, 1921-1931, exh. cat., 
1973. P- 9- 

123. "Uber den Ursprung und die Bedeu- 
tung der geometrischen Axiome," 
Populdre wissenschaftlicbe Vortrage, 
Braunschweig, 1876, vol. Ill, pp. 21 ff; 
reissue of original English translation 
of 1881, "On the Origin and Signifi- 
cance of Geometrical Axioms," Pop- 
ular Scientific Lectures, New York, 
1962, p. 227, see also p. 225. 

124. Regarding the influence of Lipps and 
Endell, see Marianne L. Teuber, "Blue 
Night by Paul Klee" in Vision and 
Artifact, Mary Henle, ed., New York, 
1976, p. 143; and Weiss, 1979, pp. 

34 ff, esp. pp. 36-37, 120, note 73. 

125. Point and Line to Plane, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, pp. 555-556, figs. 5, 6. 

126. Ibid., p. 554. 

teenth and early twentieth centuries. As he did in his teaching, he included 
in the book examples from the natural sciences and technology. The use of 
scientific sources, of course, was intended to help insure the validity of the 
principles for universal application. Further, Kandinsky wished to integrate 
the various intellectual and artistic disciplines as called for in his concept of 
synthesis. 119 In carefully categorizing the formal elements and drawing on a 
broad range of examples from the arts and sciences, as well as in its logical 
sequence and tone of certainty, the book presents its material as basic laws 
leading to a theory of composition. Kandinsky's role as the "artist as law- 
giver" is the subject of Schlemmer's satire in the collage he made as part 
of a spoof on his Bauhaus colleagues (cat. no. 179). 12 ° 

The basic progression from point to line to plane, which Klee also 
presented in his Bauhaus Book Pedagogical Sketchbook (Padagogisches 
Skizzenbuch), 1915, Kandinsky had outlined already in writings of 1919 
and 1920. m It is rooted in the study of geometry and could, for example, 
be found in one of the much-read Popular Scientific Lectures by the famous 
late nineteenth-century physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz, originally 
published in i876". 122 In discussing the axioms of geometry, Helmholtz had 
cited the propositions, "that a point in moving describes a line, and that a 
line in moving describes a surface." 125 The suggestion of animation in such 
statements must have appealed to Kandinsky and Klee. Indeed, energy, 
movement and rhythm were qualities that Kandinsky believed enlivened the 
pictorial elements and thus determined the nature of artistic composition. A 
central feature of Point and Line to Plane, accordingly, is the discussion of 
these forces. Kandinsky's sources for this conception of visual phenomena 
lay in perceptual psychology, particularly the Munich psychologist Theodor 
Lipps's concept of kinetic empathy and his eye-movement theory of per- 
ception. Of further relevance was August Endell's application of Lipps's 
ideas to artistic questions and his formulation of ideas of tension and tempo, 
which characterized lines and linear complexes. 124 

Designed by Herbert Bayer, the book is illustrated with many diagrams 
and drawings by Kandinsky and a number of photographs in addition to 
illustrations taken from scientific publications. Even a small selection of the 
illustrations indicates the richness of his investigation of the basic elements 
and their ramifications. For example, he noted that the point can have 
different shapes and sizes and can be multiplied and he illustrated the latter 
phenomenon by examples from nature— a telescopic view of the "Nebula in 
Hercules" and a microscopic enlargement of the "Formation of nitrite." 125 
Utilizing his notion of the expressive resonance, or "inner sound," of visual 
elements, he wrote concerning groups of points: 

Since a point is also in itself a complex unity (its size + its shape), it may 
easily be imagined what a gale of sound develops as a result of still- 
further accumulation of points on the plane— even when such points are 
identical— and how this gale intensifies if, in the course of development, 
points of differing, ever increasing dissimilarity in size and shape are 
strewn upon the surface. 126 


fig- 31 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Point and Line to Plane, 
"Curve — freely undulating." 1925 
Ink on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

fig- 3 2 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Point and Line to Plane, 
"Curve — freely undulating." 1925 
Ink on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

127. Ibid., pp. 566-568, and fig. 12. 

128. Ibid., pp. 597-598, figs. 34, 35, and 
pp. 602-604, figs- 39-42. 

129. Ibid., p. 646, fig. 77, and pp. 651-652 
figs. 82-84. 

A number of the illustrations drawn by Kandinsky exemplify these ideas, 
including the figure "Centralized complex of free points" (cat. no. 181). This 
image in particular shows the phenomenon of texture, which Kandinsky 
maintained depended on three factors: the character of the surface, the na- 
ture of the implement, and "the manner of application, which may be loose, 
compact, stippled, spray-like, etc " 127 

As his own art indicates, Kandinsky was interested in the variety of 
types of lines, and he considered straight, angled, zigzag, curved and wavy 
lines in his text, as well as their combinations and relationship to the picture 
plane. In some of the illustrations he included small arrows to indicate the 
multiple forces or tensions inherent in lines. 128 Regarding complex, "free" 
curves, which had an important role in his paintings, Kandinsky wrote about 
the uneven alternating forces that generated their forms. In his examples of 
freely undulating curves, variations are created by thickening the line, pro- 
ducing the effect of emphasis or stress (figs. 31-33). 

Kandinsky treated the "Picture Plane" in the third section of the book, 
briefly discussing illusions of three-dimensionality and devoting much of his 
attention to the varying nature of the different parts of the picture plane or 
surface. As mentioned above, he believed that the four quadrants of the 
picture were different in their inherent weight and that the four sides pos- 
sessed varying degrees of resistance (fig. 34). 129 The diagonal axes of the 
picture, therefore, have distinct characteristics. The plates illustrating groups 
of points are good examples of these qualities. All three emphasize the "un- 
harmonic" or "dramatic" diagonal, from lower right to upper left, but also 
indicate the opposing "harmonic" or "lyrical" diagonal (cat. nos. 183-185). 
He also considered qualities of weight and space: the sense of gravity and 
nearness of the lower part and the right side, versus the lightness and distance 
of the upper and left parts of the picture plane. Kandinsky's feeling that the 
placement of a "heavy weight" in the light area increases its tension is illus- 
trated by the plate "Point: 9 Ascending points" (Drawing No. 1), where the 
largest dot is in the upper left (cat. no. 185). These drawings, of course, illu- 


fig- 33 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Point and Line to Plane, 

"Spontaneous emphasis within a free 

curve." 1915 

Ink on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

fig- 34 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Point and Line to Plane, 

"Varying resistance of the four sides 

of a square." 1925 

Ink on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

130. Grohmann, 1958, pp. 204 ff; Ruden- 
stine, Costakis Collection, pp. 313 ff. 

131. Sketch for Several Circles (Entwitrf 
zu Einige Kreise, HL 312), Collection 
New Orleans Museum of Art, Gift of 
Mrs. Edgar B. Stern. 

minate Kandinsky's paintings with points and circles, as well as recall the 
influential works of Rodchenko. The range of expression made possible by 
the different groupings, placements and densities of the points is indicated 
by the titles of the plates, which are in addition to "Point: 9 Ascending points," 
"Cool tension toward center" and "Progressive dissolution." 

Kandinsky's Art, 1926-1927 

Many of the works from the period following the completion of Point and 
Line to Plane take as their theme the expressive contrast or consonance of the 
elements discussed in the book. Examples include Tension in Red and Calm 
of 1926 and Line-Spot and Hard but Soft, both 1927 (cat. nos. 192, 295, 194, 
195). The relationship of angular and curved forms, both simple and complex 
in shape, dominates these images, even where one aspect of the polarity pre- 
vails. Among the most important pictures of the first years in Dessau are 
those in which the circle is the principal or the sole motif. 130 The largest and 
probably the finest of these is Several Circles (cat. no. 188); this and its smaller 
preliminary version were the first paintings of 1926 and thus of the Dessau 
period. 131 This planetary image synthesizes elements of the preceding works 
concerned with this motif: the large circle drawing together smaller ones 
in Circles in a Circle (cat. no. 150); the diagonal movement and place- 
ment of a large circle toward the upper left in both Draiving No. 1, 1923 
(cat. no. 151), and Drawing No. 1, 1925; the "cool" horizontal sequence of 
circles in "Cool tension toward center"; and the counter-diagonal moving 
toward the upper right in several of the drawings. These groupings and 
diagonals create effects not only of ascent but also of both coalescence and 


dispersal. Placing the forms against a modulated background of dark grays 
and black provides an atmospheric quality and the association of a night 
sky. In this context the colors glow and assume varying positions in an illu- 
sionary space, depending on their brightness, chromatic temperature, size 
and position. Kandinsky described these phenomena in Point and Line to 
Plane as the "annihilation" of the picture plane, whereby "the elements 
'hover' in space, although it has no precise limits (especially as regards 

the way the formal elements advance and recede extends the picture plane 
forward (toward the spectator) and backward into depth (away from 
the spectator) so that the picture plane is pulled in both directions like 
an accordion. Color elements possess this power in extreme measure} 12 

Accent in Pink, 1926 (cat. no. 190), was the next picture but one executed 
after Several Circles and, though smaller, is in many ways an interesting 
companion to it. It belongs to the group of works in which the circle pre- 
dominates but other forms appear, and this painting includes squares and a 
warped diamond-shape that functions in a manner similar to that of the 
quadrilateral fields first used in the Russian pictures. Quite different effects 
must have been intended in these two paintings from early 1926. For 
Kandinsky in Several Circles the dominant blue circle, reinforced by the 
use of a large amount of black and the square format, would have signified 
coolness and repose; whereas in Accent in Pink the pink circle, dark yellow 
diamond-shape and vertical format would have connoted warmth and activ- 
ity, though these effects were mitigated by cooler, somber elements. The axes 
of the two paintings are also different: in Several Circles the dominant move- 
ment is toward the top left. In Accent in Pink, however, though the larger 
number of circles gravitates toward the upper left, the major compositional 
direction is determined by the pink circle moving toward the upper right; this 
movement creates a "harmonic" or "lyric" diagonal, which, according to 
Kandinsky produces a feeling of nearness in contrast to the sense of dis- 
tance in the larger work. 133 

Finally, Accent in Pink exhibits key features of Kandinsky's color theory. 
For example, he demonstrates his proposition that violet and blue are the 
two major color oppositions for yellow by contrasting the yellow diamond 
with the dark violet corners which contain a good deal of blue. The com- 
positional use of color polarities contributes to the complex equilibrium 
created here: near the center are focal contrasts of black and white, while 
complementary oppositions of green and red or pink balance the lower and 
upper parts of the picture. The resonant color and cosmic reference provided 
by the image of the circle in Several Circles and Accent in Pink as well as the 
variety of abstract imagery in subsequent paintings— as exemplified by the 
angular forms and vivid hues of Tension in Red (cat. no. 192) or the lively 
complexity of Sharp Hardness (cat. no. 193)— show that the broad range and 
131. Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 648. richness Kandinsky had developed in his works of 1924 and 1925 continued 

133. Ibid., p. 641. to characterize the paintings of the early Dessau years. 


Color Theory 

134. Clippings of reviews of this exhibition 
are in the Albers Scrapbook at the 
Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard 
University, Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts, P/A1/7. 

The student exercises done for Kandinsky's courses are the largest group of 
such material that survives from the Bauhaus. Well over two hundred of 
these works have been collected by the Bauhaus-Archiv in West Berlin. Al- 
most all are color studies or analytical drawings, but there are a number of 
free studies and paintings as well; virtually all are from the Dessau period. 
The color exercises especially indicate the systematic nature of Kandinsky's 
teaching. Kandinsky assigned an elaborate set of exercises so that his stu- 
dents would become directly involved with color phenomena and principles, 
rather than merely attending a series of theoretical lectures. Participatory 
education of this sort was central to the Bauhaus program. Students benefited 
not only from executing the studies but also from the discussion of their 
works in class. The exercises were regularly shown in exhibitions of the 
Preliminary Course, and moreover, a group of them were included in at least 
one public exhibition, 10 Jahre Bauhaus, 1920 bis 1930, which opened in 
Dessau at the beginning of 1930 and traveled to Essen and other cities. 154 
This probably accounts for the careful construction and execution and ex- 
plicit labeling of many of the examples from 1929-30 by students such as 
Eugen Batz, Friedly Kessinger-Petitpierre, Karl Klode, Hans Thiemann and 
Bella Ullmann-Broner. In general the surviving exercises are well executed 
and effective demonstrations of the visual phenomena and artistic principles 
involved. Their qualities of clarity and logical presentation are ultimately 
derived from the charts and diagrams used in scientific and theoretical 
sources. However, the forcefulness and scale of many of the works, the in- 
ventiveness and subtlety of others, and certain of the formats, such as those 
based on the grid, clearly show that they are products of a school of modern 

The majority of the color studies concerns four major subjects: color 
systems and sequences, the correspondence of color and form, color inter- 
relationships and color and space. Kandinsky frequently used the principles 
involved in these categories in his works from the Bauhaus years. A program- 
matic statement of this sort is the major painting from the months preceding 
the move to Dessau, Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 (cat. no. 196). This work em- 
bodies the systematic ordering of colors by the color circles and gradation 
sequences Kandinsky taught in his classes. More than his fellow Bauhaus 
masters Itten and Klee, who also taught color theory, Kandinsky placed 
great emphasis on the three primary colors and black and white. Though 
this emphasis arose largely because of his interest in the basic elements and 
their role in his correspondence theory, it also reflects Kandinsky's adherence 
to Goethe's color theory, to which he referred often in his teaching notes. 
The sequence in Yellow-Red-Blue, in the charts Kandinsky used in Point 
and Line to Plane and in class assignments places yellow and blue at oppo- 
site poles. Yellow and blue for Goethe formed the elemental opposition, 
which he called the plus-minus polarity, and this concept was adopted by 
Kandinsky in his synaesthetic view of these hues. He quoted Goethe on this 
polarity: yellow "is the color nearest the light. It . . . always carries with it 


135- Sers, p. 198; Johann Wolfgang von 
Goethe, Zur Farbenlehre, "Didak- 
tischer Teil," originally published 
1810; Kandinsky quoted phrases 
from paragraphs 765-766, 778, 781- 
782. (The division of Goethe's treatise 
into numbered paragraphs makes it 
possible to consult any available edi- 
tion using the designated numbers.) 

136. Goethe, paragraph 794; quoted by 
Kandinsky, Sers, p. 119, see also 

p. 219; Goethe discussed "increase" 
(Steigerung), paragraphs 517 ff. 

137. Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 579-580. 

138. Ewald Hering, Grundziige der Lehre 
vom Lichtsinne, Berlin, 1910; "Die 
Reihe der Farbtone, pp. 40 ff ; English 
translation, Outlines of a Theory of 
the Light Sense, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, 1964, "The Series of Color 
Hues," pp. 41 ff. 

the nature of brightness . . ."; while blue "always brings something of dark- 
ness with it . . ." and provides "a feeling of cold, . . . shade." 135 The areas of 
white near the yellow rectangle at the left of the painting and the prominent 
black forms on the right near the blue circle represent these affinities, which 
are shown clearly in the color gradation charts. 

For Goethe red was the bridge between the poles and originates from 
them by the principle of "increase," which he called the "primal phenom- 
enon." He based this concept on his observations of the effects of turbid 
media, such as the atmosphere. When light is seen through such a semi- 
transparent medium, it appears yellow or orange or even red as the medium 
becomes denser, a phenomenon exemplified by sunsets. The blue or lavender 
appearance of distant mountains demonstrates the opposite effect, when 
darkness is seen through the turbid medium, which itself is illuminated. 
From both poles, therefore, there is a tendency toward red, through yellow 
and orange on the one hand, and through blue and violet on the other. Thus 
red was conceived as the union of the opposites. 136 In Yellow-Red-Blue, 
orange forms near the yellow, red in the center and violet overlapping the red 
and blue forms create this sequence, which is also found in student exercises 
(see cat. no. 199). The progression is not merely a basic way of ordering 
colors but an abstract embodiment of elemental opposition and mediation. 

In the assignments done by the students and the diagrams in Point and 
Line to Plane, the color sequences show gradations of lightness value and 
chromatic temperature, from light and warm to dark and cool. They also, 
therefore, represent the spatial progression, as indicated by the stepped color- 
scale and its designation as "a slow, natural slide from top to bottom" 137 (see 
cat. no. 198). Ascent and descent, advancing and receding movements are 
correlated in the color scales, which thus incorporate a number of the major 
principles of Kandinsky's color theory. Other sequences include the second- 
ary colors orange and violet and two hues of red, warm and cool, to show 
its wide range (see cat. no. 199). In addition, some studies show the place- 
ment of green parallel to red in its position in the value and temperature 
gradation (see cat. no. zoo). Many of Kandinsky's paintings utilize these 
sequences, either in complete or partial form, and sometimes in broken or 
transposed versions. Fxamples are seen in Into the Dark, 1928, and Cool 
Condensation, 1930 (cat. nos. 217, 201). 

Color circles also demonstrate the fundamental order of the hues. Kan- 
dinsky used two types in his teaching, the traditional six-part circle and 
the more unusual four-part diagram (fig. 35). The first of these presents the 
familiar placement of the secondary colors between the primaries so that 
the complementary pairs lie on the diameters, showing their opposition: 
yellow-violet, orange-blue and red-green (cat. no. 197). The four-part circle 
was derived from the concepts of the psychologist Ewald Hering and shows 
the oppositions yellow-blue and red-green. 138 Based on his theory that these 
four hues are the primary chromatic sensations, this pairing corroborated 
Goethe's concept of the yellow-blue polarity and thus must have appealed to 
Kandinsky. In Yellow-Red-Blue he seems to have intended a reconciliation of 
the two complementaries of yellow, for while blue and yellow are paired 


fig- 35 

Hans Thiemann 

Color Scales and Color Circles, ca. 1930 
Tempera, collage and typewritten texts 
on board 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

139. Lindsay/Vergo, I, p. 461. 

140. Ibid., II, pp. 588 ft. 

141. On the Spiritual in Art, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, p. 163. 1 have translated the 
phrases more literally. 

here, violet borders the left side and part of the bottom of the picture, the 
domain of yellow. 

Kandinsky expanded the theory of correspondences to include inter- 
mediary hues and shapes as he had suggested in his Inkhuk Program. 139 He 
asked his students to choose geometric forms, sometimes composite ones, 
that could accord with the secondary colors (cat. no. 203). In Point and Line 
to Plane Kandinsky elaborated this theory by correlating the color scale to a 
sequence from obtuse to acute angles, so that blue and violet correspond to 
obtuse angles, red to the right angle, and orange and yellow to acute angles 
(see cat. no. 204). 14 ° Student exercises apply this general scheme to the vary- 
ing bends of a complex curve (cat. nos. 206, 207). In his own paintings Kan- 
dinsky only occasionally employed the prescribed combinations of colors 
and forms in a systematic way. Composition 8 (cat. no. 147) provides some 
examples of these combinations in the large angles, which are colored blue 
and warm pink, and in some of the circles and triangles. In fact, he readily 
accepted deviant combinations, for he believed that "the incompatibility of 
a form and a color" can offer "new possibilities and thus also harmony." 141 
Nevertheless, a few paintings from the beginning of the Dessau period em- 
body the correspondence theory quite directly. Three Sotinds, 1926 (cat. no. 
202), presents parallel sequences of color and shapes in its triad of triangles: 
the acute triangle is yellow, the equilateral one, red, and the more open one 
with a curved side is blue. Tension in Red and Calm, both 1926 (cat. nos. 
192, 295), follow the general outlines of the theory to achieve their overall 
expressive effects and contrast in their relationships of color and forms as 
indicated by the titles. The active intensity of the first is created by the angu- 
lar forms and warm red pentagonal ground plane, with contrast provided 
by the predominantly blue and greenish blue circular forms. The repose con- 
veyed by Calm derives from the dominant blue circles and use of blue in 
the generally gray background and also from other curving forms and dark, 
cool colors. 

Color interrelationships were central to Kandinsky's concept of pictorial 
art and of the compositional process. In order to study their effects, he used 
a variety of geometric formats, including the square-in-square and grid ar- 
rangements first introduced at the Bauhaus in Itten's Preliminary Course. 
Occasionally Kandinsky's own works resemble color studies, specifically 
those in which he places simple shapes of different hues against uniform 
backgrounds in order to focus on the character of the individual colors and 
the subtle phenomena of chromatic interactions (cat. nos. 208, 209). The more 
complex geometric works of the late Dessau and Berlin years, epitomized 
by Balance Pink of 1933 (cat. no. 311), show interrelationships by repeating 
shapes of the same hue in different groupings, sizes and proportions on vari- 
ous backgrounds. Alterations in the appearance of colors are caused by simul- 
taneous contrast, a phenomenon whereby a color shifts toward the opposite 
or complementary of its neighbor in terms of both value and hue. For ex- 
ample, red may appear lighter and warmer when juxtaposed to blue, that is, 
closer to blue's complementary, orange. The color contrast studies in the 
square-in-square format demonstrate these effects by switching the super- 


i4i- "The Value of a Concrete Work" 
(XX e Steele, 1939; English edition 
XXth Century, 1939), Lindsay/Vergo 
II, p. 8x3. 1 have used the more literal 
equivalent of relativite, the word that 
appears in the French version, which 
Kandinsky himself wrote. 

143. "Reflections on Abstract Art," Lind- 
say/Vergo, II, p. 758. 

144. Sers, pp. 182, 271 (class of Feb. 1, 
1926), 282 (class of July 13, 1927). 

imposed and background colors (cat. no. 211). Student exercises on this 
theme must have strongly influenced Albers in his approach to the teaching 
of color, which he developed later, after he emigrated to the United States. 
In fact, the notion of the "relativity" of color and form that was central to 
Albers's art and pedagogy had been clearly articulated by Kandinsky at 
various stages of his career. Kandinsky returned to this aspect of the nature 
of artistic elements in 1939, stating, " 'Absolute' means do not exist in paint- 
ing; its means are relative only. ... It is from relativity that the unlimited 
means and inexhaustible richness of painting arise." 142 This attitude led him 
to conceive the organizing of a pictorial composition as a complex process of 
adjusting the multiple interrelationships of the visual elements, which he 
called "living things." 143 

One of Kandinsky's class assignments specifically concerned principles 
for the compositional use of color. This exercise utilized a format based on a 
nine-square grid that was further subdivided into additional rectangles or 
squares. 144 The caption and diagram incorporated into the example by Thie- 
mann indicate the concepts the students were asked to examine: Accenting 
the Center; Balance, Above and Below (cat. no. 213). The black-white con- 
trast in the center creates a focal emphasis, while the opposing or comple- 
mentary colors in the upper and lower parts of the design relate to each 
other visually across the surface and create equilibrium by completing each 
other. As already mentioned, Accent in Fink embodies principles of the pic- 
torial usage of contrasts, as does Yellow-Red-Blue in its left-right disposi- 
tion of the yellow-blue polarity and its juxtaposition of opposites as accents. 
The investigation of the phenomena of contrast in a number of the assign- 
ments indicates their importance to Kandinsky. He valued these phenomena 
for both their visual liveliness and expressive effect and, indeed, he con- 
sidered them to be crucial for modern painting and to supercede traditional 
harmony in significance. 

As preceding discussions of individual paintings indicate, the creation of 
spatial effects was another kind of chromatic interrelationship that inter- 
ested Kandinsky. Two watercolors exemplify the principles involved: the 
contrast of warm and cool colors in Unstable, 1924 (cat. no. 216), shown in 
its yellow and blue circles and use of orange and violet; and the sequence 
of hues from warm to cool in Into the Dark, 1928 (cat. no. 217). This sequence 
is demonstrated in the latter work in the progression from yellow and rose 
in the lower area through violet in the middle to the cooler green and dark 
blue toward the top. The movement into depth resulting from this progres- 
sion is counteracted by the repetition of a set of triangular shapes that does 
not decrease in size. Thus spatial ambiguity is created by the contradiction 
of chromatic perspective by the relative flatness of the graphic element. Light- 
ness value as well as temperature participates in the production of chromatic 
effects, as seen in the color scales Kandinsky assigned as exercises. This is 
shown in the studies using concentric circles, where a tunnel-like illusion 
involves recession from the white outer band through yellow, red and blue 
to the central black circle (see cat. no. 219). Other exercises investigate the 
yellow-blue contrast as the chief polarity in both temperature and value and 


145- Goethe, paragraphs 16, 88, 90, 91 and 
pi. Ha; Helmholtz, "Optisches iiber 
Malerei," Populare wissenschaftliche 
Vortrdge, pp. 85-87; English transla- 
tion "On the Relation of Optics to 
Painting," Popular Scientific Lectures, 
pp. 175-277; see Poling, Kandinsky — 
Unterricbt, p. 53 and notes 39, 40. 

146. Ibid., p. 54 and notes 41, 42, citing 
Teuber, "Blue Night by Paul Klee," 
p. 143, and Sixten Ringbom, The 
Sounding Cosmos, Abo, Finland, 
J 97°) PP- 86-87 an d fig. 23. 

147. Sers, p. 232 (end of 1929-30 semester). 
In formal design some of the exercises 
strongly resemble Kliun's Suprem- 
atism: 3 Color Composition, ca. 1917 
(fig. n), and Udaltsova's Untitled, 
ca. 1918-20 (cat. no. 59) 

148. Ursula Diederich Schuh, "In Kandin- 
sky's Classroom" in Eckhard Neu- 
mann, ed., Bauhaus and Bauhaus 
People, New York, 1970, pp. 161-162. 
Painted paper shapes used by Kandin- 
sky in his teaching have survived in 
the collection of Philippe Sers and in 
the Kandinsky Bequest at the Musee 
National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris. 

149. On the Spiritual in Art, Lindsay/ 
Vergo, I, pp. 171,195. 

thus the most active spatially. The caption for Thiemann's study (cat. no. zi8) 
explains the effects: 

Yellow forms on a blue ground and blue forms on a yellow ground .... 
The yellow forms step forward, appear larger {eccentric) , whereas the 
blue seems to lie behind the actual ground plane. In the second instance, 
the yellow seems to lie in front of the actual ground; the blue forms stcl> 
back and appear smaller. 

Changes in size as well as spatial position occur due to the phenomenon 
known as irradiation, whereby a bright object seems to expand beyond its 
boundaries into the surrounding field. From sources such as Goethe and 
von Helmholtz, this was well known as a perceptual effect. 145 The eccentric 
movement of colors Kandinsky discussed can be explained by irradiation, 
and other writers he knew— the psychologist Lipps and the proponent of 
chromotherapy A. Osborne Eaves— had elaborated on the concentric as well 
as eccentric movement in colors. 146 This aspect of Kandinsky's color theory, 
therefore, shows the range of materials he had absorbed and adapted, a range 
that extended from Goethe and perceptual psychology to occult science. 

Kandinsky was well aware that the interrelationships of shape, size, 
placement, and the exact hue and shade of the colors often prevent the 
normative spatial effects from occurring in paintings. His interest in such 
complexities is reflected in his assignments concerning the reversal of the 
"natural" spatial effects of colors, in which, for instance, yellow may be 
placed behind blue (see cat. no. 221). 147 In certain exercises, the shapes, col- 
ored according to the correspondence theory, overlap each other causing am- 
biguous spatial readings: it is unclear which plane lies in front of which, and 
some appear to be fused on the same level (see cat. no. 220). That Kandinsky 
stressed the multiple and contradictory spatial effects created by colors and 
forms is attested to by the recollection of a painting student, who commented 
on his class: 

He has brought along a great variety of rectangles, squares, disks, and 
triangles in various colors, which he holds in front of us to test and to 
build our visual perception. In one combination, for instance, yellow is 
in front of blue in back. If I add this black, what happens then? Etc. etc. 
For the painter this is a never-tiring game, magic, and even torture, when 
one, for instance, "cannot get something to the front." 148 

These formal and chromatic interactions are among the "contrapuntal" ef- 
fects Kandinsky valued in painting. 149 

Analytical Drawing and Free Studies 

While Kandinsky's teaching of color theory as well as his analysis of form 
in Point and Line to Plane primarily concerned the elements and the visual 
effects produced through their juxtaposition and grouping, in analytical 
drawing he emphasized structural principles that could be applied to pic- 
torial composition. More complex and systematic in approach than the 


150. "Analytical Drawing" ("Analytisches 
Zeichnen," Bauhcius, 1918), Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, p. 729. 

151. Ibid., p. 728. 

152. Itten also used geometric networks 
in his analyses of old masters, and 
Kandinsky used diagrams of earlier 
paintings in his classes. Itten's teacher 
Holzel influenced these practices; see 
Poling, Kandinsky — Unterricht, pp. 
128-129 and notes 44, 45. Regarding 
Holzel's early relevance to Kandinsky, 
see Weiss, 1979, pp. 40 ff. 

153. "Analytical Drawing," Lindsay/ 
Vergo, II, p. 729. 

154. Ibid., p. 727. 

examples from the Weimar period (see figs. 20-23), the analytical drawings 
from 1926 and after involve a three-stage process of simplification, analysis 
and transformation of the formal characteristics and construction of the still- 
life arrangements set up by the class. The general purposes of the enterprise 
were explained by Kandinsky: 

The teaching of drawing at the Bauhaus is an education in looking, pre- 
cise observation, and the precise representation not of the external 
appearance of an object, but of constructive elements, the laws that 
govern the forces ( = tensions) that can be discovered in given objects, 
and of their logical construction. 1 ™ 

In the first stage of the process the essential forms of the individual parts 
of the subject were perceived and subordinated to a precisely depicted "sim- 
ple over-all form." The drawings of this stage, accordingly, are highly sim- 
plified renderings of the still-life setup in which the objects are usually 
identifiable (cat. nos. 222, 223). Executed with line alone, the representations 
emphasize geometric shapes and convey little or no sense of depth, so as to 
maintain their clarity. Many of the studies include a small cypher-like di- 
agram that interprets "the whole construction by means of the most concise 
possible schema," as Kandinsky instructed. 151 Often this graphic abbreviation 
stresses the horizontal, vertical and diagonal orientation of the forms and 
how these axes interrelate. Such summarizing devices are like more geometric 
versions of the diagrammatic sketches Kandinsky made for the basic com- 
positional relationships of paintings from the late Munich years and also 
resemble some of the simplified diagrams Itten used in his analyses of old- 
master paintings. This reduction to essentials prepared the way for the sec- 
ond stage. Here, in a procedure that was central to the analysis, a structural 
network was perceived in the arrangement of the forms. 152 Through lines of 
varying color or thickness and sometimes dotted lines, the principal and 
secondary tensions were indicated and the major contours and the axes of the 
forms were emphasized. Charlotte Voepel-Neujahr's drawing based on a cir- 
cular grindstone in its stand exemplifies this phase of the analysis (cat. no. 
226). By winter 1929-30 the students began to employ tracing-paper overlays 
to show the different stages. An example of the use of overlays is provided by 
Thiemann's drawing, where different colored inks clarify the distinctions (cat. 
no. 224). On the base sheet is a first-stage representation in blue ink of an 
arrangement that includes a three-legged stool, which is circumscribed by a 
triangle drawn in green, indicating the "principal tension" identified in the 
caption. This, a second-stage element, is elaborated on the overlay by the 
complex network of red ink-lines projected from and interconnecting the 
parts of the still life. These represent the "secondary tensions" generated in 
part from what Kandinsky called the "focal points" of the construction. 153 
Freer and more abstract translations of the tensions and structural rela- 
tions found in the still lifes were presented in the third stage of the analysis. 
Here, the objects were "completely transformed into tensions between 
forces," rendered by complexes of lines, and sometimes, as in the second 
stage, the intrinsic "larger structure is made visible by . . . dotted lines." 154 


fig. 36 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Fixed Points. 1929 

Oil on board 

Present whereabouts unknown 

In the developed exercises of about 1930, the top or third overlay often 
shows a highly simplified diagram that is like an enlarged version of a 
schema but emphasizes dramatic movement. The dynamic red S-curve with 
diagonal spiked ends in Bella Ullmann-Broner's drawing based on a bicycle 
(cat. no. 225) shows the degree to which these studies convey a sense of their 
subject's overall form and inherent energy. The expressive character of such 
drawings may be traced to Itten's rhythm studies and aspects of his old-master 
analyses, as well as to the impulsive equality of Kandinsky's early composi- 
tional diagrams. They also reveal the influence of the theories of energy in 
visual forms articulated by Lipps and Endell. In the mid-twenties Kandinsky 
produced simplified drawings comparable to the third-stage schemata: these 
were analyses, based on photographs, of the movements of the modern 
dancer Gret Palucca that translated the key contours and axes of the body 
into dramatic lines (cat. no. 320, see p. 266). 

Because they are highly abstract, the third-stage analytical drawings 
could readily serve as the basis of pictorial compositions. Their clear struc- 
ture, sense of overall form and division into primary and secondary axes and 
areas could be pictorialized by the addition of color (see cat. no. 229). Indeed, 
Kandinsky encouraged the use of the principles of analytical drawing in his 
painting classes. 155 This derivation is apparent in paintings of quite different 
styles executed for the class, such as Hermann Roseler's geometricized still 
lifes (see cat. no. 232), and Karl Klode's canvas (featuring an abstract image 
that resembles a schemata and floats in front of a shallow, shelf-like space 
[cat. no. 233]). Kandinsky's ultimate goal in teaching analytical drawing was 
to impart basic structural laws that could be applied in pictorial composition: 
principles of equilibrium, parallel construction and the use of major con- 
trasts. In applying these principles, the graphic features of the analytical 
drawings could be utilized: the large, overall form, the horizontal, vertical 
and diagonal axes and the geometric networks with their nodal or focal 
points. 156 In Kandinsky's own art the character of the analytical drawings 
is discernible not only in the schematic quality of many of the early Bauhaus 
works, but more explicitly in paintings such as Black Triangle of 1925 (cat. 
no. 159) and Fixed Points of 1929 (fig. 36). Images of geometric structures and 
abstract figures, discussed below, often reflect the networks and schemata of 
the drawings. Thus, as his color theory was reflected in his painting, so there 
was a reciprocal relationship between Kandinsky's teaching of analytical 
drawing and his painting. 

'Pictures at an Exhibition" and the Bauhaus Theater 

155. Sers, p. 374 (winter semester 1917-28) 

156. Ibid., pp. 162 (Sept. 27, 1926), 271 
(Feb. 1, 1926). 

157. "Uber Buhnenkomposition" and Der 
Gelbe Klang, Der Blaue Reiter, Mu- 
nich, 1912, Lindsay/Vergo, I, pp. 
157-165, 267-283. 

Theater was for Kandinsky the ultimate synthetic art, ideally uniting the 
visual arts, music, dance and literature. Since his Munich years he had held 
this view, which was derived from the Romantics and Richard Wagner, and 
in that early period he had written several works for the stage, including The 
Yellow Sound, as well as the essay "On Stage Composition" for the Blaue 
Reiter almanac. 157 However, he had no direct involvement with the Bauhaus 
Stage, which was directed by Schlemmer. In the publications of the school, 


158. "Uber die abstrakte Biihnensynthese," 
Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar, 1919- 
193}, Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 504-507; 
"Aus 'Violett,' romantisches Biihnen- 
stiick von Kandinsky," Bauhaus, 
1927, Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 719-721. 

159. Prospectus for the Bauhaus Books, 
1927, in Wingler, p. 130. 

160. Schlemmer reported that Kandinsky 
not only supported his work with the 
Bauhaus Stage but felt that Schlem- 
mer had realized many of his own 
ideas for theater: letter of Sept. 8, 
1929, to Otto Meyer in The Letters 
and Diaries of Oskar Schlemmer, Tut 
Schlemmer, ed., Middletown, Con- 
necticut, 1972, p. 248. 

161. Weiss, 1979, chap. IX, has shown the 
early influence of the Miinchner 
Kunstlert heater (Munich Artists' 
Theater), with its innovative use of 
colored light, on Kandinsky's ideas 
concerning abstract theater and in 
particular his conception of The 
Yellow Sound. 

162. Oskar Schlemmer, ed., Die Biihne im 
Bauhaus, Bauhausbiicher 4, Munich, 
1925. Essays by Farkas Molnar, Laszlo 
Moholy-Nagy and Schlemmer; Eng- 
lish translation, Walter Gropius, ed., 
The Theater of the Bauhaus. Middle- 
town, Connecticut, 1961, p. 34. Such 
expressive use of color would have 
accounted in part for Kandinsky's 
belief that his own ideas were realized 
in Schlemmer's work. 

163. This was staged during Bauhauswoche 
as part of the activities in the opening 
days of the large Bauhaus Ausstellung 
of 1923 and was created by Kurt 
Schmidt with other students: Wingler, 
pp. 366-367. 

164. Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Farben- 
lichtspiele, Wesen, Ziele, Kritiken, 
Weimar, 1925, pp. 12-22; see also 
Wingler, pp. 370-371. 

on the other hand, Kandinsky presented his ideas concerning theater. His 
article "Abstract Synthesis on the Stage" appeared in the book published for 
the 1923 Bauhaus Ausstellung and a portion of his stage play Violet was 
included in the Bauhaus journal in 192.7. 158 This work, originally written in 
1914, was announced as a forthcoming publication in the series of Bauhaus 
Books, though it never appeared. 159 Then, in 1928 the manager of the 
Friedrich-Theater in Dessau, Georg von Hartmann, invited Kandinsky to 
design a staged production of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. 
This was the only time in his career that he was able to realize his dream 
of creating a synthetic stage work. 

The development of a modern, non-narrative performance art by the 
Bauhaus Stage offered much that Kandinsky must have appreciated and 
much that influenced him. In 1922 and 1923 Schlemmer introduced elements 
that contributed to the abstract, antinaturalistic character of the new theater: 
costumes made up of geometric components that often obscured parts of the 
body, mechanical props and the use of colored settings to create expressive 
effects. 160 (Colored settings had been envisioned much earlier by Kandinsky 
for The Yellow Sound. 161 ) Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet (see cat. no. 241), as 
he described it in The Theater of the Bauhaus, consisted of: 

. . . three parts which form a structure of stylized dance scenes, develop- 
ing from the humorous to the serious. The first is a gay burlesque with 
lemon-yellow drop curtains. The second, ceremonious and solemn, is on 
a rose-colored stage. And the third is a mystical fantasy on a black 
stage} 62 

The abstract and mechanical props and devices as well as the staging tech- 
niques used in the Bauhaus theater undoubtedly gave Kandinsky ideas for 
his production. Students made significant contributions to the development 
of experimental theatrical practices. An example is the Mechanical Ballet 
devised by students and performed in 1923 in which abstract figures assem- 
bled from geometric cutouts were carried across the stage by concealed 
dancers. 163 Working independently, beginning in 1922, Ludwig Hirschfeld- 
Mack developed abstract light-play compositions that featured moving col- 
ored lights projected through templates onto a screen accompanied by music. 
On one occasion, in early 1925, a performance by Hirschfeld-Mack directly 
followed a lecture by Kandinsky on "The Synthetic Idea of the Bauhaus," as 
though to illustrate it. 164 Andrew Weininger's abstract mechanical stage pieces 
from about 1926 and 1927 (cat. nos. 243-245) are especially relevant to Kan- 
dinsky. Most noteworthy are Weininger's colored stage wings and suspended 
colored strips that moved vertically, horizontally, forward and back, or ro- 
tated. These elements created a stage environment like a constantly changing 
three-dimensional abstract painting. 

Kandinsky's design for the production of Pictures at an Exhibition was 
an ambitious one that made the visual performance equal to the music and 
at the same time responded to the changes in musical tempo and mood. He 
divided the score into sixteen scenes, including the introductory and inter- 
mediary Promenade sections as well as the ten Pictures. For these he designed 


Up ' 

fig- 37 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Scenes I, 111 and XVI of 

Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an 

Exhibition." 1928 

Ink and pencil on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

fig. 38 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing for Scenes V and XI of Mussorg- 
sky's "Pictures at an Exhibition." 1918 
Ink and pencil on paper 
Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

165. "Pictures at an Exhibition" ("Modest 
Mussorgsky: 'Bilder einer Ausstel- 
lung,' " Das Kunstblatt, 1930), 
Lindsay/Vergo, II, p. 750. Another 
source concerning the performance is 
Ludwig Grote, "Buhnenkomposition 
von Kandinsky," iio: Internationale 
Revue, vol. II, no. 13, 192.8, pp. 4-5, 
which includes a reproduction of a 
photograph showing the two dancers 
flanking the backdrop in The Market- 
place in Limoges scene. 

166. This score is in the Kandinsky Be- 
quest at the Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

backdrops, props that were suspended or moved across the stage, costumes 
for one of the scenes and lighting. Abstract shapes predominated in the 
images but representational elements also played an important role, for ex- 
ample, in The Marketplace in Limoges and The Great Gate of Kiev (cat. nos. 
235, 239). In other scenes abstract elements produced architectural associa- 
tions, as in Kandinsky's paintings of this period. Kandinsky asserted, how- 
ever, that except for the two scenes in which dancers appeared, "the entire 
setting was 'abstract.' " His use of quotation marks suggests a reference to 
"the abstract stage," indicating the kind of production in which the stage 
elements themselves create the non-narrative performance, as in a number of 
Bauhaus theatrical works. In addition, he explained, the scenes he created 
were not strictly "programmatic"; they were like his characterization of the 
music, which did not "depict" the original pictures but rendered Mussorgsky's 
impressions in "purely musical form." Kandinsky declared that he "used 
forms that swam before [his] eyes on listening to the music," rather than 
attempting to illustrate the music in an exact way. 165 

As production assistant for the theater, Paul Klee's son Felix helped 
Kandinsky and made an annotated copy of the musical score. This fascinat- 
ing document records the cues for the lighting and the movement of the 
backdrops and props and thus reveals that the static images in the water- 
color designs were actually made up of separate elements that moved dur- 
ing the performance. 166 The simplest scenes were four of the Promenade 
sections, in two of which a disk measuring two meters in diameter (fig. 37) 
was lowered slowly in front of the black plush curtain and illuminated in 
red or blue. In the other two scenes a two-meter-high white rectangle (fig. 38) 
simply traversed the stage. Scene VII, Bydlo (fig. 39) featured a more com- 
plex use of basic geometric shapes. Here eight elements, most of which were 


fig- 39 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Scene VII, Bydlo. 1918 

Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at 

an Exhibition 

Gouache on paper 

Collection Theatermuseum der 

Universitat Koln 

fig. 40 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Scene X, Samuel Goldenberg and 

Schmuyle. 19Z8 

Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at 

an Exhibition 

Ink and pencil on paper 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

rectangular, made from reflective colored and silver paper appeared; as they 
crossed the stage, each colored shape was illuminated by a light of a dis- 
similar hue. The circle with black and white pie-shaped sections was rolled 
across the stage, suggesting the great wheel of the Polish cart that gives this 
scene its title. The two dancers in the production served quite different func- 
tions in the scenes in which they participated. In Scene XII, The Marketplace 
in Limoges (cat. no. 235), they were costumed naturalistically and stood on or 
near the small pedestals at the sides of the backdrop bearing a map image, 
presumably gesticulating to indicate the haggling described in the program. 
In Scene X, Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle (fig. 40), on the other hand, 
each stood behind a vertical rectangle of transparent material on which their 
silhouettes were projected by backlighting. Circles in these props at times 
were lit from the front while they rotated at different speeds, evoking the 
conversation of the two protagonists. 

Kandinsky conceived other imaginative uses of lighting, for example, in 
Scenes VIII and IX, Promenade and Ballet of Unbatcbed Chickens, in which 
flashlights were directed along wavy lines on the two-meter-square back- 
drop. In Scene XV, The Hut ofBaba Yaga (cat. no. 23 8) the central portion of 
the set was at first concealed by a black cover, while hand-held spotlights posi- 
tioned behind the scenery illuminated the various patterns of dots and lines 
cut into its left and right sides. When the central image, the hut of the witch 
of Russian folklore, was revealed, the clockface glowed with a yellow back- 
light while the single hand rotated. Among the most dramatic scenes must 
have been those in which the images were built up gradually by assembling 
the component elements before the audience's eyes, as, for example, in Scene 
XIII, The Catacombs and The Great Gate of Kiev, the final scene {XVI) (cat. 
nos. 237, 239, 240). The latter began with the side elements and twelve props 
representing abstract figures, to which were added successively the arch, the 
towered Russian city and the backdrop, each lowered slowly from above. 
At the end these were raised, the lighting became a strong red and then was 
completely extinguished and the transparent disk used at the beginning of 


the performance was lowered. Quickly this was illuminated at full strength 
from behind and the lights finally were extinguished once more. By turn 
dramatic, comical and mysterious, Kandinsky's production encompassed a 
wide range of expressive and visual effects. The flat forms and black back- 
ground in conjunction with the lighting created an irreal space, similar to 
that in his paintings, according to the contemporary account of Ludwig 
Grote. 167 Kandinsky united pictorial, theatrical and musical elements in this 
production and thus achieved his goal of creating a synthetic work, which 
extended his painting into a magical realm of spatial and temporal dimen- 

167. "Biihnenkomposition," p. 5. 

168. In a letter of Sept. 26, 1932, Kan- 
dinsky mentioned to Katherine Dreier 
that for the most part he had been 
painting small pictures but had 
painted a few larger ones during 

169. The changing relationship between 
the two artists is the subject of Beeke 
Sell Tower's Klee and Kandinsky in 
Munich and at the Bauhaus, Ann 
Arbor, Michigan, 1981. 

170. Jan Stedman, "Galka Scheyer" in 
Norton Simon Museum of Art at 
Pasadena, The Blue Four Galka 
Scheyer Collection, n. d., p. 13. 

Pictorial Themes, Late 1920s and Early 1930s 

In the latter years of the Bauhaus period chronological development does not 
play a major role in Kandinsky's artistic output; instead there is a diversi- 
fication of imagery in the recurrent use of several pictorial modes and motifs: 
architectonic structures, regular geometric shapes and arrangements, illu- 
sions of space, abstract figures and signs, and organic forms. The paintings 
are mostly small or of medium size compared to the major works of the pre- 
ceding periods, which reinforces the sense that Kandinsky was working out 
a variety of pictorial ideas concurrently. 168 This diversity in part represents 
a response to his Bauhaus colleagues, the environment at the school and his 
association with the Blatie Vier (Blue Four) group in which he participated 
with Klee, Feininger and Alexej Jawlensky. He was especially close to Klee 
during the Dessau years— their relationship was strengthened because they 
shared a Masters' House— and Klee's art influenced him in a number of 
ways. 169 Albers's work bears comparison with Kandinsky's with regard to a 
few specific motifs. However, only a more general relationship exists between 
the work of Kandinsky and the partial abstraction of Feininger and Jaw- 
lensky. Their work shows the continuing importance of geometry in an art 
rooted in Expressionism; morever, they shared with Kandinsky and Klee a 
belief in the expressive and intuitive aspects of art. This common philosophy 
allowed the four to join together in a group despite their many stylistic dis- 
similarities. Though it was formed in the spring of 1924 by Galka Scheyer 
for the purposes of exhibitions and commercial representation in the United 
States, the Blaue Vier was given one important exhibition in Germany, in 
October 1929 at the Galerie Ferdinand Moller in Berlin. Scheyer's return to 
Germany in the spring of 1928 for a stay of several months, her renewed con- 
tacts with the artists and the arrangements for the Berlin exhibition coincided 
with the emergence of certain parallels in the work of the members. 170 

Kandinsky's imagery of structures, geometric shapes and arrangements, 
and space reflected tendencies at the Bauhaus and the Constructivist move- 
ment in Germany. The architectural and technological orientation of the 
later Bauhaus, particularly in evidence after the architecture department was 
instituted under Meyer in the spring of 1927, prompted him to create images 
of structures made up of simple geometric elements. Whether the reference 
was to technical constructions or to the human form, his statement, like 


fig-4 1 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 

Berlin Radio Tower, seen from below 


Figure 68 in Point and Line to Plane, 192.6, 

see cat. no. 321 

171. This point was made by O. K. Werck- 
meister in "Paul Klee's Pictorial 
Architecture at the Bauhaus," lecture 
given at Emory University, Atlanta, 
Oct. 9, 1980. 

172. The course was taught from spring 
1928 to early 1930: Sers, pp. 274-278, 
321-370; see Poling, Kandinsky — 
Unterricht, pp. 35-36. 

173. Sers, p. 369 (class of Sept. 21, 1928). 

174. Ibid., pp. 353 (class of Mar. 1, 1929), 

175. Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 621, 623-625. 

176. Sers, pp. 349-351 ("Au sujet du 8 C 
cours," probably June 22, 1928). 

Klee's in comparable works of the same period, was one of artistic independ- 
ence from utilitarian ends. 171 During the years of Meyer's directorship, in 
fact, Kandinsky frequently discussed the relationship of functionalism and 
art in a course on "Artistic Creation" he taught for fourth-semester stu- 
dents. 172 Using an approach similar to that involved in his analysis of the 
visual and expressive qualities of modern chairs, mentioned above, he dis- 
cussed examples of architecture. He cited a Mies van der Rohe skyscraper 
project for the "spiritual" effect of its verticality and dematerialization of the 
material. 173 He also compared the Gothic cathedral and a modern factory 
building, stating that these exemplify a contrast between vertical and hori- 
zontal "tensions" and varying qualities of light and axial arrangement; these 
characteristics produced different aesthetic and psychological effects. 174 Ulti- 
mately, Kandinsky's view was that artistic criteria were pertinent to func- 
tional designs and indeed were confirmed by successful examples of such 
projects. His abstract analysis of utilitarian structures predated these peda- 
gogical discussions. In Point and Line to Plane he had described the Eiffel 
Tower as an "early attempt to create a particularly tall building out of lines" 
and included a photograph by Moholy-Nagy of the Berlin Radio Tower 
(fig. 41) as well as another picture of electric power-line pylons. He wrote, 
"The joints and screws are points in these linear constructions. These are line- 
point constructions ... in space." 17 ' Kandinsky's perception of such struc- 
tures as networks of lines and points of intersection relates both to the 
analytical drawing exercises and to the paintings under consideration. 

In fact, in a watercolor (cat. no. 252) Kandinsky quite literally depicts the 
image of a pylon, abstracting its strutwork in the adjacent form. However, 
allusions are freer in other works, where precarious vertical masts or lad- 
ders are suggested by the lines and geometric shapes. In some examples the 
constructions are completely abstract, but the vertical orientation and link- 
age of the lines provide the generic reference to structures. Finally, a teetering 
balance of diagonals is sometimes used to evoke the tension and dynamism 
inherent in the building up of elements, thus making the analogy between 
architectonic and pictorial composition. The major painting conveying this 
idea, On Points of 1928 (cat. no. 247), offers a parallel to architectural 
examples emphasizing upward movement that Kandinsky discussed in class. 
In this class he referred to pylons that touch the ground on only one point, 
as well as to Ivan Leonidov's project of 1927 for the Lenin Institute, which 
included a spherical structure resting on a point. 176 Kandinsky's hovering 
and dematerialized structural images contrast with Feininger's more earth- 
bound depictions of medieval churches. Feininger's abstraction from actual 
buildings differs essentially from Kandinsky's synthesis of basic geometric 
elements. Klee's insubstantial, floating and delicately balanced imaginary 
structures are much more relevant to Kandinsky's imagery of engineering 
structures. For Kandinsky this pictorial theme combined personal artistic 
invention with a reference to modernity, expressed through the spatial open- 
ness and apparent weightlessness of the constructions. 

At Dessau the Bauhaus artists continued to explore geometry and 
its ordering principles. In the late twenties and early thirties Kandinsky often 


fig- 41 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Lightly Touching. 1931 


Oil on cardboard 

The Sidney and Harriet Jams Collection, 

Gift to The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York 

177. Extract from a letter published in the 
catalogue of the exhibition Erich 
Mendelsohn — Wassily Kandinsky — 
Arno Breker, Staatliches Museum, 
Saarbriicken, 193 1, Lindsay/Vergo, 
II, p. 858. 

178. Kandinsky praised these works by 
Albers in a letter of May 19, 1932., 
to Grohmann. 

179. Small uncolored shapes of this sort 
have survived in Sers's collection and 
in the Kandinsky Bequest at the Musee 
National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris. The enve- 
lope containing the examples in Sers's 
possession is marked "11. Semester," 
designating the course in which he 
focused on the subject of composi- 

based his pictures on additive assemblages of squares or triangles arranged 
in groups, stacks or overlapping series. He produced a few compositions of 
stark pictorial logic in which a single dominant triangle was placed in the 
center of the canvas and oriented to the main axis of the picture (see cat. no. 
266). Kandinsky assigned color studies using grid formats to explore contrast 
relationships, and in some of his own watercolors he employed this structure 
to display subtler ranges of color. In these, as in Klee's works that use the 
grid as a vehicle to convey rich chromatic effects, geometry is manipulated 
to enhance the sense of expansion and spatial play, thus contributing to the 
feeling of immeasurability that is characteristic of color. Thirteen Rectangles 
of 1930 (cat. no. 257), one of Kandinsky's most impressive pictures based on 
rectangles, shows an overlapping sequence that creates an illusion of semi- 
transparent planes. The spatial positions of these planes are made ambiguous 
by contradictions of superimposition and color temperature. The "dramatic" 
diagonal, extending from lower right to upper left, helps structure the com- 

Another picture from 1930 that explores rectangular forms is White on 
Black (cat. no. 264), one of three paintings Kandinsky executed with the pal- 
ette restricted to black and white. The work's visual energy depends in part 
on this stark contrast, an energy that prompted Kandinsky to speak of the 
inherent color in this relationship. 177 The optical effects here resemble those 
explored by Albers in his flashed glass paintings (see cat. no. 263), which 
Kandinsky admired. 178 However, the variations in size and visual rhythm 
and the slightly diagonal contours in White on Black differ markedly from 
the stricter geometry in Albers's grid-based works. Kandinsky's conception of 
the movement in his composition is revealed by the schematic drawing for 
the painting (cat. no. 265), which is similar to his students' analytical draw- 
ings. Particularly surprising are the curves that course through the structure 
of horizontal and vertical lines— evidence of his feeling for the "living" energy 
in formal relationships, as opposed to the static quality of overly rigid appli- 
cations of geometry. 

Kandinsky demonstrated compositional arrangements in class with sets 
of geometric shapes cut out of paper. 179 This aspect of his teaching is reflected 
in the stacked arrangements of triangles that appear in a number of his paint- 
ings. The precarious balancing of such elements is seen in Lightly Touching 
of 193 1 (fig. 42). A larger-scale image that presents a more dynamic sense of 
balance is Gray (cat. no. 268), from the beginning of the same year. The refer- 
ence to a fulcrum or seesaw and the equilibrium between simple geometric 
shapes in this picture recalls Klee's Daringly Poised of 1930 (cat. no. 267). 
These works indicate that incipient movement and visual tension remain key 
features of Kandinsky's use of regular geometric elements. The logical ar- 
rangements of rectangular and triangular forms continued to characterize 
and indeed dominated the major works of his last years in Germany. 

Spatial illusions and their contradiction continued to fascinate Kandin- 
sky during his later Bauhaus period, and he utilized a wide range of devices 
to create these effects. Examples include the superimposition of shapes and 
chromatic tensions of Thirteen Rectangles, and the suggestion of a three- 


fig- 43 

Vastly Kandinsky 

Sky Blue. 1940 


Oil on canvas 

Collection Musee National d'Art 

Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 

Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

180. Teuber, pp. 141-144. The lectures oc- 
curred between 1919 and 1931. Other 
essays by Teuber also treat the in- 
fluence of perceptual theories and 
diagrams demonstrating optical illu- 
sions on Klee and others at the Bau- 
haus: "New Aspects of Paul Klee's 
Bauhaus Style," Ibid., pp. 6-17, and 
"Zwei friihe Quellen zu Paul Klees 
Theorie der Form: Eine Dokumen- 
tation" in Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich, Paul Klee: 
Das Fruhwerk, 1883-1922, exh. cat., 
1979, PP- 261-296. 

181. The two paintings were in the exhibi- 
tion at the Galerie Moller, as were a 
number of other works by the Blaue 
Vier: see Blatter der Galerie Ferdi- 
nand Moller, no. 5, Oct. 1929, pp. 10- 
11. This publication, which served as 
the catalogue of the exhibition, in- 
cluded a short introductory essay by 
Ernst Kallai entitled "Das Geistige in 
der Kunst," pp. 1-6. The other works 
in the present exhibition were Fein- 
inger's Gaberndorf No. U, 1924, Kan- 
dinsky's Above and Left, 1925, and 
On Points, 1928, and Klee's Threaten- 
ing Snowstorm, 1927 (cat. nos. 133, 
158, 247, 249); Ibid. pp. 7, 11, 12. 

dimensional solid by the pyramid and the upward-floating movement of the 
composition in Pink Sweet of 1929 (cat. no. 27Z). Horizontal stripes allude to 
landscape space in Quiet Assertion, 1929 (cat. no. 271), where an additional 
perspective element is seen on the right; and the broad expanse of Broit>nisb, 
1931 (cat. no. 273), recalls the horizon-crossed seascapes of Feininger (see cat. 
no. 274). An illusion of aerial flotation is created by the dispersal of small 
shapes across the surface of Fixed Flight and Drawing No. 17 of 1932 (cat. 
nos. 275, 276), anticipating the formal distribution and effect of certain works 
of the Paris period, such as Sky Blue, 1940 (fig. 43). 

Of particular interest is Kandinsky's occasional use in the early thirties 
of optical illusions. Albers also began to employ such effects at about the 
same time and Klee had done so for a number of years. The specific impetus 
for this development was provided by lectures given at the Bauhaus by 
Gestalt psychologists, a series that reflected Meyer's efforts to put the study 
of visual phenomena on a more scientific basis. The reversible figures of 
perceptual psychology were of great interest to Klee, Kandinsky and Albers 
because they were striking examples of spatial ambiguity (see fig. 44). These 
two-dimensional line drawings, representing open books, cubes or steps, 
for example, produce a spatial illusion that flips when the viewer changes 
focus or shifts attention. 180 Such visual devices emphasize the immeasurable 
and dynamic character of pictorial space, which, the artists felt, expressed 
modernity. They also encourage an awareness of the viewer's own perceptual 
process, providing a participatory rather than passive experience of the work. 
The ambiguous spatial positioning of shapes in Kandinsky's watercolor 
Glimmering, 1931 (cat. no. 277), exemplifies his use of the reversible figures, 
as do the folded planes in Noiv Upwards!, 193 1, and Second Etching for 


r t ^ 

% 44 
Paul Klee 

Hoi'ering (Before the Ascent). 1930 

Oil on canvas 

Paul Klee-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum Bern 

fig- 45 
Paul Klee 

Senecio (Baldgreis). 192.2. 

Oil on canvas 

Collection Offentliche Kunstsammlung 

"Cabiers d'Art," 1932 (cat. nos. 281, 282). 

Kandinsky's pictorial themes discussed so far reflect, often with wry 
criticism or playfulness to be sure, the Bauhaus predilection for regularity, 
rationality and technology. However, his depictions of figures and signs de- 
part in an essential way from the prevailing attitudes at the school, in order 
to create an independent and evocative imagery. Though they usually hover 
on the edge of complete abstraction, the pictures use geometric components 
or, as will be seen, organic shapes to create formal constellations that have 
associations with the natural or man-made world. The images of schematic 
structures are also relevant here because they do not result from a process of 
abstraction from real objects. The physiognomic potential of abstract geom- 
etry had long interested Klee. Senecio (Baldgreis) of 1922 (fig. 45) is a para- 
digmatic instance of his manipulation of a priori geometry by slight altera- 
tions and additions to produce a human visage. At times Klee seems to have 
discovered the natural image in an arrangement of abstract shapes at some 
point during the creative process. This procedure of starting with geometric 
forms and working towards representational imagery is the opposite of that 
developed by Jawlensky in his Abstract Heads series, beginning about 1918. 
Here Jawlensky, who initially used models, perceived regular geometric 
shapes and structure in the human form. Dawn, 1928, and Frost, 1929 (cat. 
nos. 284, 28 5), exemplify the abstract heads of the late twenties. 181 In this man- 
ner he evolved a construction of elements that signifies the set of features: 
eye, nose, mouth, eyebrow, hair and pendant curl. While often not quite 
complete, the grouping of elements amply suggests the whole. Kandinsky's 
physiognomic image Upward of 1929 (cat. no. 286) is closer to Klee's pictures 
than to Jawlensky's in that the components are complete geometric shapes 


# Y1 

■K- • 

fig. 4 6 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Two Sides Red. December 1928 


Oil on canvas 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 

fig- 47 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Succession. 1935 


Oil on canvas 

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. 

182. It is interesting that this painting 
dates from October, the month of the 
BLiue Vier exhibition at the Galerie 
Moller, where Kandinsky would have 
seen sixteen of Jawlensky's Abstract 
Heads, though, to be sure, he already 
knew works of the series. A later 
painting by Kandinsky with a physi- 
ognomic image comparable to that in 
Upward is Unsteady Balance (Un- 
fester Ausgleich), 1930 (HL 499). 

183. Weiss in "Encounters and Transfor- 
mations" in Guggenheim Museum, 
Kandinsky in Munich, shows as an 
example of the Paris period the paint- 
ing Thirty, 1937, and discusses the 
issue of "abstract hieroglyphs" in the 
Munich period, p. 55, fig. 25. 

that obviously provided the starting point for the composition. 182 

In other works Kandinsky assembled geometric elements to create fig- 
ures suggestive of the whole human body, though sometimes these were 
extremely reduced, for example, the image at the right in Jocular Sounds, 
1929 (cat. no. 287). This element is very similar to the "figures" for The Great 
Gate of Kiev scene (cat. no. 240) in Pictures at an Exhibition. Klee sometimes 
used fully anthropomorphic figures assembled from geometric elements, such 
as that in Jumper, 1930 (cat. no. 289). This complete and explicit figure differs 
from Kandinsky's more cryptic and abstract forms, seen in Two Sides Red, 
1928 (fig. 46), and other pictures. Klee's Six Kinds of 1930 (cat. no. 290) shows 
how abstract geometric forms can create an image of a figure. These forms 
do not function primarily as elements within a larger composition, but are 
basically discrete, a characteristic that, together with the appended bars that 
resemble stems or handles, suggests a general analogy to real objects. As in 
certain of Kandinsky's works, the isolation of separate elements in space, 
their clarity of definition and idiosyncratic composite character create the 
sense of an abstract being. Kandinsky's Levels of 1929 (cat. no. 292) exhibits 
such forms assembled in rows, as in an information table. Here and in Lines 
of Marks of 193 1 (cat. no. 294) the figures are like abstract hieroglyphs or 
signs set up in series. The boat elements in the latter painting and the worm- 
like forms in Drawing No. 25, 1933 (cat. no. 299), are more direct in their 
references and therefore are closer to pictographs. Like the crosses in For 
Nina (for Christmas 1926) (cat. no. 291), the arrow in Green, 1931 (cat. no. 
297), is a conventional symbol, as distinguished from the invented elements 
in the majority of Kandinsky's works of this genre. Most of the signs Kandin- 
sky created in these pictures are abstract, such as the monumental cypher in 


< ft A 




fig. 48 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Black Tension. 1925 

Gouache on paper 

Present whereabouts unknown 

%• 49 

"Trichites" (Hair-like crystals) 

Figure 71 in Po;«r and Line to Plane, 1926, 

see cat. no. 321 

fig. 50 

Swimming movements of plants created 

by flagellation 

Figure 73 in Point and Line to Plane, 1926, 
see cat. no. 321 

fig- 51 

Blossom of the clematis 

Figure 75 in Point and Line to Plane, 192.6, 
see cat. no. 321 

184. Lindsay/Vergo, II, pp. 625-628, figs. 

185. Other works by Kandinsky with ab- 
stract amoeboid shapes are the dry- 
point Fifth Annual Presentation to the 
Kandinsky Society, 193 1, and the 
painting Floating Pressure (Schwe- 
bender Druck), 193 1 (HL 563). 

Light of 1930 (cat. no. 293). This figure is full of energy and buoyancy and is 
like the cryptic schematic notations in the analytical drawings, enlarged and 
pictorialized in treatment and context. Its quality of movement prefigures 
the more organic signs of the Paris years, which, in addition, were sometimes 
arranged in ordered presentations like some of the works of the late twenties 
and early thirties (see fig. 47). 183 

Already in Kandinsky's art from the Bauhaus, figures with freely 
contoured shapes appear. They are especially interesting because they par- 
allel the biomorphism of Surrealism as well as anticipate a prominent fea- 
ture of his style of the Paris period. Organic forms occasionally are seen in 
his works of the mid-twenties, such as Black Tension of 1925 (fig. 48) and 
Calm of 1926 (cat. no. 295). In Point and Line to Plane illustrations of natural 
forms are included to demonstrate complexes of free lines or loose structures: 
hair-like crystals, minute mobile plants with "tails" or flagella and wispy 
clematis blossoms (figs. 49-5 1). 184 In the early thirties organic elements appear 
more frequently: the leaf shape in Green (cat. no. 297) and the extraordinary 
creature of the imagination that dominates Pointed Black (cat. no. 296) are 
examples in two pictures of 1931. The latter form is an inventive, highly 
irregular complex of shapes, which is animated in its contours and diagonal 
placement. In at least one instance, in Drawing No. 26, 1933 (fig. 52), Kandin- 
sky created a more literal and amusing fantasy image of amoeboid beings. 
Gloomy Situation (cat. no. 298), on the other hand, expresses the threatening 
mood of Kandinsky's last year in Germany through its confrontation of two 
abstract personages. 185 

Despite their varied imagery, Kandinsky's characteristic paintings of the 
late twenties and early thirties share certain stylistic features that distinguish 


fig- 5 - 

Vasily Kandinsky 

Drawing No. 26. 1933 

India ink on paper 

Present whereabouts unknown 

them from the major works of the Weimar and early Dessau years. These 
characteristics pertain to the compositional structure, which is less complex 
than before. The works of the Weimar period contain a diversity of forms 
and are elaborately structured compositions that relate to the corners and 
boundaries of the canvas. Pictorial complexity was maintained at the begin- 
ning of the Dessau period, even where the formal variety was reduced, in 
pictures such as Several Circles (cat. no. 188). This limitation to a single kind 
of geometric form, however, initiates the later development. Although there 
are earlier individual precedents, about 1928 a general tendency toward two 
compositional types emerged. One involves the use of a large form or a com- 
bination or series of simply structured forms placed against a uniform field 
of color with only a relatively neutral or very obvious relationship to the 
boundaries of the picture, as in White Sharpness and Thirteen Rectangles 
(cat. nos. 266, 257). The rather straightforward figure-ground relationship 
that results is sometimes modified to a certain extent by modulations of the 
background color, which create a spatial environment, for example, On 
Points and Pointed Black (cat. nos. 247, 296). The simplicity and clarity of the 
compositions set off the structures, figures, signs and self-contained spatial 
images that are presented. Significantly, in these works Kandinsky depicts 
figures and forms, rather than integrating them into an overall pictorial 
structure. The second major compositional type evolved at this time, exem- 
plified by Brownish and White on Black (cat. nos. 273, 264), appears less 
frequently. Here the entire picture is united by actual or implied grid struc- 
tures or by bands or large background shapes that connect the boundaries. 
These geometric devices are simpler than those used in the earlier Bauhaus 
years, which were themselves schematizations of compositional structures 
developed in the previous periods. Despite their relative simplicity they pro- 
vide varied structures for resonant color compositions and thus play a major 
role in several of Kandinsky's most impressive works from his last years 
in Germany. 

Music Room, Deutsche Bauausstellung, 193 1 

During the period of Mies's directorship of the Bauhaus, Kandinsky was 
given a final opportunity to create a large-scale work uniting painting with 
its architectural context. The project involved the design of ceramic murals 
for three walls of a music room and was part of the Deutsche Bauausstellung 
(German Building Exhibition) held in Berlin in late spring and summer 193 1. 
It was included in the section of the exhibition supervised by Mies, which 
was entitled Die Wohnung unserer Zeit (The Modern Dwelling). In addition 
to a massive grand piano, the room contained a set of tubular metal furniture 
originally designed by Mies for the Weissenhofsiedlung, the model housing 
development in Stuttgart that was built for the Werkbund exhibition of 1927 
(cat. nos. 304-306). The geometric shapes, elegance and spatial openness 
of this International Style furniture complemented the monumental yet 
simple shapes of the murals. Indeed, as already mentioned, Kandinsky par- 
ticularly admired the armchair for its dematerialized and abstract quality. 


The chrome-plated steel tubing also accorded with the shiny surface of the 
ceramic tile. The tile must have been chosen for its architectural qualities: its 
hardness and relative permanence, as well as the measured, visually stable 
and unifying effect of its grid of rectangular elements. The character of the 
environment created by the murals can be judged not only from the gouache 
maquettes (cat. nos. 301-303) and photographs of the original completed 
work (cat. no. 300), but also from the careful reconstruction executed in 1975 
and installed at Artcurial in Paris. 

Kandinsky's imagery in the murals combines the geometric shapes and 
abstract structures, figures and signs that preoccupied him during the late 
twenties and early thirties. Each wall bears a composite of two or more major 
images. The right wall is the most unified because its two structural motifs 
are symmetrical. The long central wall is the most complex, as it includes 
diverse motifs and sections, among them an area with three rows of small 
sign-like elements. This motif is one of several semi-independent pictures 
within the larger compositions. The underlying grid provides scale as well as 
an armature for the compositions and varies from wall to wall because of the 
changes in the proportions and size of the tiles. The left wall, which depicts 
large, solid shapes, is comprised of small, rectangular tiles; the longer central 
one has the largest tiles, also rectangular over most of its area; and the right 
wall is made up of square tiles that provide particularly stable support for 
its open and elongated forms. Also varied are the background colors: the 
dark ground of the left wall is an especially effective foil for the rich hues 
placed against it. The generally vivid colors are enhanced by the sheen of the 
material, and the clarity of the forms and compositions, as well as the large 
scale of the work, contributes to the engaging effect of the whole. 

In the brochure published for the Deutsche Bauausstellung, Kandinsky 
stated that he offered his project as an alternative to the "blank wall" charac- 
teristic of modern architecture, but not as a merely decorative adjunct to the 
room. A space intended to bring people together "for a special inner purpose 
. . . must have a special energy." Since painting can serve as "a kind of tuning- 
fork," it can thus affect or "tune" people to that special purpose. 186 This was 
the goal he wished to accomplish in this space intended for the playing and 
experiencing of music. 

186. Amtlicher Katalog und Fuhrer: 
Deutsche Bauausstellung, Berlin, 1931, 
9. Mai- 2. August, pp. 170-171. 

187. Letter of Dec. 10, 1928, to Will 

Final Years in Germany, 1932-1933 

At the conclusion of his Bauhaus period, Kandinsky painted a number of 
major pictures that brought together elements of his work of the previous 
several years and exploited the range of visual effects and evocative values 
of abstract geometry and color. In December 1928 he had written that fol- 
lowing his "cool" period, which had culminated in the Weimar years, his 
work was characterized by "great calm with strong inner tension." 187 This 
phrase aptly describes a painting such as Several Circles of 1926, which main- 
tains a sense of quiet energy by means of its vivid color and organization 
along two diagonals. The compositional simplicity and clarity of structure 
of Kandinsky's work of the late Dessau period enhance this quality of calm 

and also allow a richness of effect. In his last two years in Germany Kan- 
dinsky developed and intensified these characteristics through a somewhat 
denser use of the elements. A vivid resonance of color within a grid-derived 
composition is created in Layers of early 1932 (cat. no. 309), whose multiple 
planes occupy various positions in the shallow space. Order is maintained 
among the varied forms by the strict arrangement of the picture here and in 
Decisive Rose, also of 1932 (cat. no. 310), where many small elements of dif- 
ferent shapes are evenly distributed and, for the most part, aligned vertically. 

The culminating work that displays this kind of clearly structured com- 
plexity is Balance Pink, of early 1933 (cat. no. 311). Kandinsky presents color 
harmonies and chords in grid patterns and stripes, as Klee does in his strata 
and checkerboard images (see cat. nos. 259, 131), but uses a greater variety of 
geometric motifs. The internal framing device, the consistency of scale of the 
larger grid and the continuation of some of the vertical and horizontal lines 
across the picture provide structure in Balance Pmk. One of the spatial de- 
vices here is the use of a primitive architectural allusion, shapes that resemble 
abstract doorways or gateways; a similar element appeared at the left and, 
in altered form, at the right of the stage set for The Great Gate of Kiev. How- 
ever, the suggestions of depth in the painting are subtle and ambiguous, so 
that a shallow space is maintained. The unification of the picture, to which 
the compositional devices contribute, is accomplished above all by the use 
of color. The dominant ochres (repeated in Kandinsky's painted frame), 
browns and tans provide a muted chromatic context for the pink square 
just above the center and the pale, cooler colors. To the general balance of 
warm versus cool colors is added the complementary relationship of the pink 
and the pale green. Ultimately Balance Pink presents a strong image of or- 
dered and subdued formal and chromatic multiplicity. 

The creation of an imagery of restraint and calm was a meaningful 
response to the conditions in Germany during 1932 and 1933. Already in 
mid-December 193 1 Kandinsky expressed his uncertainty about political 
developments in a letter to Galka Scheyer, in which he stated that if either the 
Nazis or the Communists came to power he would be jobless. 188 The next 
month the right-wing majority in the Dessau city legislature, led by the Nazis, 
moved to dissolve the Bauhaus. In July the Nazi representatives toured the 
school, confirming their hostility to its building and program, and in August 
the legislature voted for dissolution. After it moved to Berlin and began to 
operate as a private institute, the Bauhaus again encountered opposition, 
and in April 1933 the Nazis, now in power at the national level, searched and 
closed the building. Finally on July 20, after the failure of attempts at nego- 
tiation, the faculty voted to close the institute permanently. Ironically, the 
next day the Nazis' terms for allowing the Bauhaus to continue to exist were 
delivered: they included the termination of Kandinsky as well as Ludwig 
Hilbersheimer and their replacement by "individuals who guarantee to sup- 

188. Letter of Dec. 14, 1931. port the principles of the National Socialist ideology." 189 Kandinsky felt 

189. Letter to Mies van der Rohe from the acutely the difficulties of his situation, as he explained to Scheyer in letters of 
£^.^9" P ° llCe (Gestapo) ' Wmg " July and October. 190 It was impossible for him to exhibit or teach, and there 

190. Letters of July 15 and Oct. 7, 1933. were three reasons for special concern: he was Russian (hence both a for- 


eigner and a suspected Communist), an abstract artist and a teacher at the 
Bauhaus. Thus, early in the fall Kandinsky made arrangements to move to 
Paris, and in December he left Germany for the final time. 191 

In the context of these events the major works of the period convey a 
feeling of grandeur expressive of Kandinsky's confidence in the validity of 
his art. The somber mood of the time is felt particularly in several works 
from July and August 1933. Such is the case in Gloomy Situation (cat. no. 
298), where black abstract figures confront one another, and Similibei (cat. 
no. 313), in which an ascending series of black and gray squares surmounted 
by a dense black circle hovers against a nearly monochromatic sprayed back- 
ground of dull red. Development in Brown of 1933 (cat. no. 314), the last 
picture Kandinsky executed in Germany and one of the very few large can- 
vases he had painted in about five years, represents a summation of this kind 
of expression. It is very subdued and shows a rich range of colors dominated 
by dark browns and other dark and muted hues placed against a medium 
brown background. The large vertical and slightly slanting planes form ele- 
ments that flank a contrasting central area whose white background supports 
smaller triangles in a variety of brighter colors. It is as though the portal 
image were rendered more abstract and monumentalized and opened on a 
view into a somewhat distant, lighter space. Hope or threat— the image in- 
vites both interpretations. 

The two paintings of 1933 included in the present exhibition not only 
register the historical moment in which they were executed but also reflect 
important concerns of Kandinsky during his Bauhaus years. Balance Pink 
subsumes the chromatic interrelationships and regular formats that were the 
subjects of his teaching in a synthesis of structure and rich effect, to create an 
image of imposing and serious character. Development in Brown is a testa- 
ment to Kandinsky's conviction that geometric form and resonant color 
express ineffable abstract meanings. Such had been his consistent belief since 
at least about 1920, when he began to develop a geometric art in Russia. This 
culminating work embodies the impressive effect and meditative qualities his 
abstract imagery ultimately achieved. 

191. Nina Kandinsky, pp. 150 ff. 



Titles are given only in English for works 
executed during Kandinsky's years in 
Russia (1915-1921). 

For works executed during the years in 
Germany, English titles precede the 
German, which appear in parentheses. 

When Kandirisky gave his paintings a 
number in his Handlist (HL), this is cited 
after the title and date. 

Dimensions are given in inches and centi- 
meters; height precedes width precedes 



TRANSITION, 1915-1916 

Vasily Kandinsky 
i Untitled, Composition No. I. 1915 
Watercolor on paper, 1314 x 9" 
(33.6 x 22.9 cm.) 
Collection Ulrich Pfander, Tegernsee 


Vasily Kandinsky 

2 Untitled. 1915 
Watercolor on paper, 1314 x 9" 
(33.6 x 22.9 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York; Gift of Abby Aldrich 


Vastly Kandinsky 

3 Watercolor for Etching 1916-N0. 

Pencil and watercolor on paper, 
5% x 6Vu" (13-5 x 16.2 cm.) 
Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 

Vasily Kandinsky 
///. 4 Etching 1916-N0. ///. 1916 

Drypoint on paper, 5 14 x 6V4" 
(13.5 x 16 cm.) 

Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 


Vasily Kandinsky 
5 Etching 1916-N0. IV. 1916 
Drypoint on paper, 3% x 3 V4" 
(9.1 x 8.3 cm.) 

Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 

Vasily Kandinsky 
6 Trumpeting Angels. 19 16 

Pen and ink and pencil on paper, 
8W x ioH/ifi" (21 x 27.2 cm.) 
Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 

5> "^D"V tf m 

l->^ 7 ^ ' 


Vasily Kandinsky 
7 The Horseman. 1916 
Watercolor, wash, brush and ink and 
pencil on paper, 12% x 9%" 
(32.3 x 24.9 cm.) 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York; 
Joan and Lester Avnet Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 
8 Picnic. February 1916 
Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper, 
13V2 x 13V2" (34-4 * 34- 2 cm -> 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


Vasily Kandinsky 

9 Painting on Light Ground. 1916 

Oil on canvas, 39% x 30%" (100 x 78 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'ArtModerne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 


Vasily Kandinsky 

10 Study for "Painting on Light Ground." 
Pencil on paper, 4% x 3'/ 8 " (11. 8 x 7.8 cm.' 

Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 

Vasily Kandinsky 

11 Drawing for "Painting with Border" 
(Painting on Light Ground). 1916 
India ink on brown paper, 9 li /n x 7V2" 
(24.9 x 19 cm.) 

Collection Stadtische Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus, Munich 


Vasily Kandinsky 
12 Untitled ("Ceiling"). October 1916 
Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
n7i6 x 9" (29 x 22.9 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

13 Untitled ("To the Unknown Voice"). 
September 1916 

Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
9 5 /is x 6y 16 " (23.7 x J 5-8 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

14 Simple. 1916 

Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
8iyi 6 xny 16 " (22.1x28.4 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

/ — 


PERIOD, 1917-1921 

Vasily Kandinsky 

15 Study for "Red Square." 1917 
Pencil on cardboard, io n / l6 x SYk" 
(17.1 x 20.7 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

1 6 Untitled. 19 17 

India ink and charcoal on paper, 
I3%6 x ioi/ 16 " (34.5 x 25.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 
17 Untitled. October 24, 1917 

Pencil, India ink and ink wash on paper, 
10 x I3 7 / 16 " (25.4x34.1 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 
18 Study for "Gray Oval." 1917 

Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper, 
10 x n 1 /^" (25.4 x 28.5 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 

9 8 

Vasily Kandinsky 
19 Untitled. 19 18 

Watercolor and ink over graphite on 
paper, n7 16 x 9Vi 6 " (19 x 23 cm.) 
Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, Anonymous Gift in 
memory of Curt Valentin 

Vasily Kandinsky 
20 Untitled. January 1918 

Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper, 
10% x 15" (27.4 x 38 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1941 

'■ -> 1 



Vasily Kandinsky 
21 Untitled. February 1918 
India ink on paper, 13% x 10" 
(34 * 2-5-5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 
22 Untitled. March 1918 

Watercolor, opaque white and India ink 
on tracing paper mounted on cardboard, 
ioVs x 13I//' (25.7 x 34.4 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1941 


Vasily Kandinsky 

23 Untitled. 19 18 

Watercolor on paper, n'4 x 9V2" 
(31. 1 X23.5 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Vasily Kandinsky 
14 Red Border. June or July 1919 
(HL 119) 

Oil on canvas, 36^ x 2-7%" 
(91 x 70.2 cm.) 
Private Collection 



Vasily Kandinsky 

25 In Gray. 1919 

Oil on canvas, $o x Y\(, x 6^Y\i," 

(129 x 176 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

26 Study for "In Cray." 1919 

Pencil on paper, 7% x 10%" (20 x 26.9 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

27 Study for "In Cray." 1919 
Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
io7i 6 x i^/m," (26.5 x 34.4 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

! lv 


Vasily Kandinsky 

28 Study for "Blue Segment." 1919 

Watercolor on paper, 9V2 x izW 
(24.2 x 31. 1 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 


Vasily Kandinsky 

29 View from the Apartment Window in 
Moscow. 1920 

Oil on canvas, 15% x i4 3 /i 6 " (39 x 36 cm.) 
Collection Haags Gemeentemuseum, 
The Hague, The Netherlands 

30 View of a Square in Moscow Showing 
Kandinsky's Apartment 


Collection Musee National d'Art Modeme, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Olga Makhroff 

31 View from a Window of Kandinsky's 
Apartment in Moscow 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


311 II ■■ **• 

1 1 Ti mm I 1 

nun T»li m 1 
m 1 



32 Kandinsky's Apartment House at No. i 
Dolgii Street, Moscow. 1978 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 

33 Red Oval. 1910 

(HL 227) 

Oil on canvas, 28% x i8i/g" 
(71.5 x 71.2 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




Vasily Kandinsky 
34 Study for "Green Border." 1920 
Watercolor and India ink on paper 
mounted on board, io%<; x i^Vic" 
(26.9 x 36.3 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 
35 Points. 1920 

Oil on canvas mounted on board, 
43 5 /i 6 X36" (110x91.5 cm.) 
Collection Ohara Museum of Art, 
Kurashiki, Japan 


Vasily Kandinsky 

36 White Stroke. 192.0 

Oil on canvas, 38y 8 x 31V2" (98 x 80 cm. 
Collection Museum Ludwig, Cologne 


Vasily Kandinsky 
37 Red Spot II. 1921 

Oil on canvas, 51% x 71%" (131 x 181 cm.) 
Collection Bayerische Hypotheken- und 
Wechselbank, Munich, courtesy Stadtische 
Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich 


Vasily Kandinsky 

38 "White Center. 1911 

(HL 2.36) 

Oil on canvas, 46% x 53%" (118.7 x 
136.5 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 

39 Multicolored Circle. 1911 


Oil on canvas, 54*4 x yo x ^/\i 
(137.8 x 179.8 cm.) 

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 
Collection Societe Anonyme 


Vasily Kandinsky 

40 White Oval. 1921 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 39%" (106 x 101 cm.; 
Lent by Art Advisory SA, c/o Matthiesen 
Fine Art Ltd., London 


Vasily Kandinsky 

41 Black Spot. 192.1 

(HL 240) 

Oil on canvas, 54546 x 47V4" 
(138 x 120 cm.) 

Collection Kunsthaus Zurich 


Vasily Kandinsky 
42 Circles on Black. 1921 

Oil on canvas, 53% x 47%" 
(136.5 x 120 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


Vasily Kandinsky 

43 Untitled. 1921 

Watercolor on paper, 7% x nVs" 
(19.4 x 28.3 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 



Vasily Kandinsky 
44 Inkhuk Questionnaire. 1920 

Multiple copy typeset on paper, printed 
on 2 sides, n 1 ^ x 7%" (30.2 x 20 cm.) 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 

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45 Members of RAKbN (Narkompros) 
(Kandinsky fourth from left). 
Moscow, 192.1 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

46 Members of RAKbN (Narkompros) 
(Kandinsky seated second from left). 
Moscow, 1911 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 


Vasily Dmitrievich Bobrov 

47 Untitled. 1921 
Watercolor and ink on paper, 
13% X9 13 /i 6 " (33.4 x 25 cm.) 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Vasily Dmitrievich Bobrov 

48 Untitled. 1911 

Ink and watercolor on paper, 4 x 4'yi6" 
(10.1 x 12.2 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 


Vasily Kandinsky 

49 Design for Porcelain, n.d. 

Pencil on lined paper, 7%$ x 5%" 

(18.6 x 14.6 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

50 Teacup and Saucer. 1911? 
Leningrad Porcelain Factory 
Porcelain, cup, 4Vi 6 " (10.3 cm.) d.; 
saucer, 6 3 / l6 " (16 cm.) d. 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 
51 Cup and Saucer. 192.1? 
Leningrad Porcelain Factory 
Porcelain, cup, 2%" (7 cm.) d.; 
saucer, $ 7 / i6 " (13.8 cm.) d. 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 




Kazimir Malevich 
52. Suprematist Painting. 191 5 
Oil on canvas, 40 x z^Vk," 
(101.5 x 61 cm.) 
Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 

Kazimir Malevich 

53 Suprematist Diagonal Construction 79. 

Pencil on paper, 13% x 20%" 
(35.3 x 51.5 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York; Purchase 


Kazimir Malevich 

54 Suprematist Painting, Black Rectangle, 
Blue Triangle. 19 15 

Oil on canvas, z6Y\(, x az7is" 
(66.5 x 57 cm.) 

Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam 


Kazimir Malevich 

55 Suprematist Element: Circle. 1915 

Pencil on paper, 18V2 x nVt," 

(47 x 36.5 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York 

1 29 

Ivan Kliun 

56 Untitled, n.d. 

Gouache on paper, I3 1 Y[ 6 x 13%" 
(35.1 x 35.2 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Ivan Kliun 

57 Sheet of S Sketches, Oeavre Catalogue, 
Sheet 14. n.d. 

Watercolor on paper, 9 x i4%(," 
(22.8 x 37 cm.) 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 




Ivan Kliun 

58 Untitled, ca. 1917 

Pencil on paper, 5% x 4%" 
(13.6 x 12 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Nadezhda Udaltsova 

59 Untitled, ca. 1918-20 

Watercolor on paper, jYu, x 97k;" 
(18.6 x 24 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 


Liubov Popova 

60 Cover Design for the Society of Painters 
Supremus. 1916-17 

Ink on paper, 3V2 x 3Vs" 

(8.8 x7.8 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Liubov Popova 

61 Architectonic Painting. 19 17 
Oil on canvas, 31V2 x 38y 8 " 
(80 x 98 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Philip Johnson Fund, 1958 



Liubov Popova 
62 Abstraction, n.d. 

Watercolor and gouache on paper, 
13% X9%" (33.7x24.8 cm.) 
Collection Yale University Art Gallery, 
New Haven, Gift from the Estate of 
Katherine S. Dreier 


Liubov Popova 

63 Cover Design for a Set of Linocuts. 
ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, i6%6 x ii'Mg" 
(41.8 x 30 cm.) 

Private Collection 



Liubov Popova 
64 Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Watercolor, pencil and ink on paper, 
i3 15 /l6x83/ 4 " (35.3x21.1 cm.) 
Collection George Costakis, Athens 


Liubov Popova 

65 Untitled, ca. 1917-19 

Linocut on paper, 13% x 10" 

(35 x 2.5.5 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 

Nadezhda Udaltsova 

66 Untitled, ca. 1918-20 

Gouache and pencil on paper, 9 u /i6 x & } A" 
(24.6 x 15.9 cm.) 

Collection George Costakis, Athens 



Alexander Rodchenko 

67 Composition, ca. 1918-20 
Oil on cardboard, 18 x 14V8" 
(45-7X35.9 cm.) 

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo, General Purchase Funds, 1978 


Alexander Rodchenko 

68 Study of a Circle. 1919 

Oil on wood, 17% x 15%" 
(45.5 x 40 cm.) 

Private Collection 


Alexander Rodchenko 

69 Circles. 1919 

Gouache on paper, 13^6 x 11 %s" 
(33.5 x 29 cm.) 

Collection Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, 
Centre d'Initiation a l'Art Moderne, 


Alexander Rodchenko 

70 Non-Objective Painting. 1919 

Oil on canvas, 3314 x 18" 
(84.5 x 71. 1 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Gift of the artist, through 
Jay Leyda, 1936 


Alexander Rodchenko 

71 Linear Construction. 1919 

Oil on paperboard, 17%^ x i^Yli" 
(44x35 cm.) 

Collection Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, 
Centre d'Initiation a l'Art Moderne, 

Alexander Rodchenko 

72 Line Composition. 1920 

Pen and ink on paper, 12% x 7%" 
(32.4 x 19.7 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York; Given anonymously 


El Lissitzky 

73 Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. 

Poster, color lithograph on paper, 
18% x ziVt" (47-9 x 59 cm.) 
Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 
The Netherlands 


El Lissitzky 

74 Proun 12E. ca. 192.0 

Oil on canvas, 22V2 x 16%" 
(57.2x42.5 cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Purchase, Museum Association 


El Lissitzky 
75 Proun }A. ca. 1920 

Oil on canvas, 28 x 23" 
(71. 1 x 58.4 cm.) 

Courtesy Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 


El Lissitzky 

76 Proun 6B. ca. 1919-zi 

Lithograph on paper mounted on paper, 

13% x I7 15 /i 6 " (34.5 x 45.5 cm.) 

Lent by Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne 


El Lissitzky 

77 Study for "A Supremacist Story — About 
Two Squares in 6 Constructions." 1920 
Watercolor and pencil on cardboard, 
10% x 8" (25.6 x 20.2 cm.) 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York; 
Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection 



IN WEIMAR, 1922-1925 


78 Kandmsky's Russian Passport Picture. 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

79 Kandinsky in Berlin. 1922 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

TT ~^ n ■-—^ 



Vasily Kandinsky 

80 Blue Circle (Blatter Kreis). 1922 

Oil on canvas, 43 x 39" 
(109.2 x 99.2 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 

Si White Cross (Weisses Kreuz). 192.2. 

Oil on canvas, 40% x 43 Vi" 
(103 x 110.5 cm.) 
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 


Vasily Kandinsky 
82 Untitled. 1922 

Watercolor and India ink with pen and 
brush over pencil on paper, 
I2i'/ 16 x i8% 6 " (32.3 x 47.1 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 
83 Untitled. 1922 

Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper, 
12% x 18%" (32.8x47.8 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 




Vasily Kandinsky 
84 Small Worlds 1 (Kleine Welten I). 1922 
Color lithograph on paper, 14 x n" 
(36 x 28 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 

Vasily Kandinsky 
85 Small Worlds 11 (Kleine Welten 11). 1922. 
Color lithograph on paper, 14'/) x n" 
(36.3 x 18.1 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 
86 Small Worlds 111 (Kleine Welten 111). 1 911 
Color lithograph on paper, 14% x 11" 
(36 x 28 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebav Collection 

Vasily Kandinsky 
87 Small Worlds IV (Kleine Welten IV). 1911 
Color lithograph on paper, 14 1 / \ 1 1" 
(36 x 2.8 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebav Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 
I Small Worlds V (Kleine Welten V). 1922 
Color lithograph on paper, 14'/^ x n" 
(36.2. x 28 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rehay Collection 

Vasily Kandinsky 

89 Small Worlds VU (Kleine Welten VII). 

Color lithograph on paper, 14V4 x n'/s" 
(36.1 x 28.2 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 


>f -V'.;^T<i> 


Vasily Kandinsky 
90 Small Worlds Vlll (Kleine Welten Vlll). 


Woodcut on p.ipcr, 15 x 10%" 

(38 x 17.6 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 

Vasily Kandinsky 
91 Small Worlds IX (Kleine Welten IX). 

Drypoint on paper, 14% x n'/s" 
(37.7 x 28.2 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 

■ w&%> 


P VV At m in /Ok ? Jr Jr\^ 



92 a, b Bauhaus Students Executing 

Murals for Juryfreie Exhibition. 



Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



93 a, b Mural for Juryfreie Exhibition. 192.1 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 

94 Maquette for Mural for Juryfreie Exhi- 
bition (Entwurf fiir das Wandbild in der 
Juryfreien Kunstschau): Panel A. 1922 
Gouache and white chalk on black paper 
mounted on cardboard, 13% x 23%" 
(34.7 x 60 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 

Vasily Kandinsky 
95 Maquette for Mural for juryfreie Exhi- 
bition (Entwurf fiir das Wandbild in der 
Juryfreien Kunstschau): Panel B. 1922 
Gouache and white chalk on black paper 
mounted on cardboard, 13% x 23 Yg" 
(34.7 x 60 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 




Vasily Kandinsky 
96 Maquette for Mural for Juryfreie Exhi- 
bition (Entwurf fiir das Wandbild in der 
Juryfreien Kunstschau): Panel C. 192.2. 
Gouache and white chalk on brown paper 
mounted on cardboard, I3yg x 23%" 
(34.7 x 60 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 

Vasily Kandinsky 

97 Maquette for Mural for Juryfreie Exhi- 
bition (Entwurf fiir das Wandbild in der 
Juryfreien Kunstschau): Panel D. 1922 
Gouache and white chalk on brown paper 
mounted on cardboard, I3 n /i6 x 22%" 
(34.8 x 57.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 

Vasily Kandinsky 

98 Maquette for Mural for Juryfreie Exhi- 
bition (Entwurf fiir das Wandbild in der 
Juryfreien Kunstschau): The Four Corner 
Panels, D-A,C-D,B-C,A-B. 1922 

Gouache and white chalk on black paper 
mounted on cardboard, I3 u /i6 x 22%" 
(34.8x57.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 



Lyonel Feininger 

99 Untitled (Cathredral [Katbedrale]) for title 
page of Programm des Staatlichen Bau- 
bauses in Weimar. 1919 

Woodcut on paper, iz x 7V2" 
(30.5 x 19 cm.) 

Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, 
Department Purchase Fund 1966.41 


Johannes Itten 
ioo Encounter (Begegnung). 1916 

Oil on canvas, 41% x 31 V2" (105 x 80 cm.) 
Collection Kunsthaus Zurich 


Johannes Itten 

101 Horizontal-Vertical (Horizontal-Vertikal). 

Colored pencils on paper, 87s x 87s" 
(22.5 x 22.5 cm.) 
Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 


Attributed to Johannes Itten 

102 Chromatic Composition (Farbige 
Komposition). ca. 1917 

Tempera over pencil and colored papei on 
paper, I3 13 /Ux 87 8 " (35 x 11.5 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Johannes Itten 

103 Nude (Akt). 1923 

Charcoal on paper, 17% x 12V2" 
(45 x 31.8 cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lyonel 


Johannes Itten 

104 Analyses of Old Masters, Sheet 1 (Analysen 
alter Meister, Blatt 1) from Utopia. 1921 

Lithograph on paper, 12^16 x 9%" 
(32.8 x 24.5 cm.) 

Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 

Johannes Itten 

105 Analyses of Old Masters, Sheet 6 (Analysen 
alter Meister, Blatt 6) from Utopia. 1921 

Lithograph on paper, I2 15 / ls x yYz" 
(32.8x24.5 cm.) 

Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 


I ALTfR 1 * 

— J — = Hl^eie^i 

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:;;::::::iiiinit!::::::::::::i:; ■ i; d 7 H A 1 

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LLL'IL-.:..!.-..^ :y iecbs 

- ■ mi i ; : .ii.! iii u ..m i W ! B 1 I I ' B 

;'."\"iV"g''Tr"i y :; ^ :: o :: v : i7 ; i ::: ' : ' 

- ■ :" !!! '!i ! i;;i !! it ! ! !! ! !! *„~, ".,.■■,....„■ .'. 

-Dcaken htint wicdftttinntrn' (PLATO) 

Sihaflco heitil wlf derrnchaffrn 
Geborcn wcrdcnhciiit wicdergeborcn wcrdfn 

Peon fiott »dmf die Prta»tp*e» «ller Plate, 

■He» QctdmffcneM top 


Bescheidenheit «™j grosse Demut v., 

„«»„.,;. cJje'Schwere "^ EinsTcfi^ "^ - 

Eln » «hrh»H dcokendcr Mciuch 
wl/d nun Helc Folaerungto ktI- 
Ikt ilthtn WmMrnrUm wlrd von 

Irlit an nut ooch rnlereulerrn. 

« < 1. h. I ,, v> die Anrrktnnunj 

oMnrt Uh ~ 


1 den bUdtodcn 


Johannes Itten 

106 Analyses of Old Masters: Adoration of the 
Magi, Composition Analysis (Analysen 
alter Meister, Anbetung der Konige, Kom- 
positionsanalyse) from Utopia. 1921 

Lithograph on paper, i2>yi 6 x ^Ys" 

(32.8 x 24.5 cm.) 

Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 

Johannes Itten 

107 Meister Franks: Adoration of the Magi 
(Reproduction and Diagram) (Meister 
Franke: Anbetung der Konige [Repro- 
duktion und Schema]) from Utopia. 1921 
Collage of lithograph and paper on paper, 
I2iy 16 x 9%" (32.8 x 24.5 cm.) 
Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 



y\. cf£<c istdal1otfaac!a<tcj)( A 

ae.-ag:&?= 3 ^ 

3 : W 

ad - ft = ititc ' A 



7 Lichtslufen ., 12 T6nen 

Johannes Itten 

108 Color Sphere in Seven Gradations and 
Twelve Colors (Farbenkugel in sieben 
Lichtstufen und zwolj Tonen) from 
Utopia. 1921 

Color lithograph on paper, 18V2 x 12%" 

(47 x 32 cm.) 

Collection Anneliese Itten, Zurich 

Werner Graeff 

109 Rhythm Study from Itten' s Preliminary 
Course (Rhythmus-Studie aus dem 
Vorkurs Itten). 1920 

Tempera on paper, 22V1,; x 28 l yi 6 " 
(56x73.5 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Max Peiffer-Watenphul 

no Nudes, Movements in Rhythm (Akte, 
Bewegungen aus dem Rhythmus). 
ca. 1920 

Charcoal on paper, 97 ls x 13%" 
(14 x 35 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 




Friedl Dicker 

in Light-Dark Study (White and Black 
Circular Planes) (Hell-Dunkel-Studie 
[Weisse und schwarze Kreisflcichen]). 
ca. 1919 

India ink and tempera over pencil 
on cut paper, ioV4 x 7Vs" (26 x 18 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Vincent Weber 
nz Color Contrasts (with Red) (Farbkon- 
traste [gegen Rotj). ca. 1920 
Tempera on cut paper mounted on card- 
board, I2% 6 x 7 5 / 16 " (31.5 x 18.5 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack 
113 Color Exercise — Values Combined with 
Yclloic, Blue, Green (Weiss-Schwarz 
Stufen, im Cegensatz zu Gelb, Blan, 
Griin). 1922 

Gouache and collage on paper, 
21% x i6'/ 8 " (55.2x42.2 cm.) 
Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Purchase, Germanic Museum 

"3 zi 


Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack 

1 14 Exercise in Advancing and Receding 
Values (Gradationsstndie: raumliche 
Wirkung). ca. 1922-23 

Gouache on paper, 19% x 1 8 V4 " 
(48.5 x 46.3 cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 


Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack 

1 15 a, b The Same Elements, Positive and Negative 
(Gleicbe Elemente, positiv itnd 
negativ). 1922 

Spray technique on white paper and 
black paper, 2. studies: white, 
12% x •)">/% (32 x 24.5 cm.); black, 
12x9%" (30.5 x 15 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Erl&uterung: Die 3 Grundlarben golb. rot. blau vertellt auf die zugehorlgen 3 Gn 
FIAchenlnhaltes, Dreleck, Quadrat, Kreis. 
Daruntor die raumllchen Formen, Tetraeder, Kubus, Kugel. 

idformen glelchen 

Specie? Mat (Beruf) 
GescMecht- ,.t. t _ 
Notional/fat; ^ Jr 

',. « „ 

D'eWerk staff fur Wandmaterei im Staot/rchen Bauhaus 
l&imor bitter ju experimenteften ftreciien der iferAstoff 

um 8eoatw>rtung der fotgenden fnjge/) 

t fJ/eJ Oufgezeichnersn formen mit 3 fhrben au^ufuffen- 
ge/b. rot u btau und zwor so, Jo/? &ne tar/77 von e/ner 
Forbe volistandig ausgefutff wrd- 

2 Ifenn mogficfi eme Begryndung d/eser l/ertedungivgeoen 

Begrundung: t'?-i <■ '■.'Vrv 


Vasily Kandinsky 

The Three Primary Colors Applied to the 
Three Elementary Forms (Die drei Grund- 
farben verteilt auf die drei Grundformen) 
in Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar 1919-1923, 
Weimar and Munich, 1913 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 
(see cat. no. 319 for complete biblio- 
graphical entry) 

Vasily Kandinsky 
116 Questionnaire from the Wall-Painting 
Workshop, Filled Out by Alfred Arndt 
(Fragebogen der Werkstatt fur Wandmale- 
rei, ausgefiillt von Alfred Arndt). 1913 
Multiple copy typeset on paper with lead 
and colored pencils, 954 6 x ^Yu" 
(23.3 x 15. 1 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack 
117 a-c Exercises in Basic Colors and Shapes 

(Studien mit Grundfarben und- formen). 


Gouache and collage on paper, 3 studies: 

a. 11V2 x 17%" (29.2 x 45 cm.) 

b. n 3 / 8 x 17%" (28.9 x 45.4 cm.) 

c. 11% x 17%" (28.9x45 cm.) 
Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Purchase, Germanic Museum 


Oskar Schlemmer 

118 Atelier-Weimar. 1921-13 

Pencil on transparent paper, n x 8 1 %e" 
(28 x 22.6 cm.) 

Schlemmer Family Collection, 
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 

Herbert Bayer 

119 Design for Stairwell Mural, Weimar Bau- 
haus (Entwurf fiir die Wandgestaltung des 
Nebentreppenhauses im Weimarer 
Bauhaus-Gebaude). 1923 

Gouache on paper, 26 x 15%" 
{66 x 40 cm.) 

Collection of the Artist 

120 Stairivell Mural by Herbert Bayer, Weimar 
Collection of the Artist 



■■-v, ■ '-.,-< 







li a-h Postcards for Bauhaus Exhibition (Post- 
karten zur Baubaus-Ausstellung). 192.3 

a. Lyonel Feininger b. Vasily Kandinsky 

c. Paul Klce d. Ldszlo Moholy-Nagy 

e. Rudolf Baschant f.,g. Herbert Bayer 

h. Oskar Schlemmer 

Lithographs on paper, each ca. $ 1 Yic > x 4" 

(15 x 10 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



3ULI- SEPT. I92i 
W E I M A R 





Oskar Schlemmer 
122 Prospectus for Bauhaus Exhibition (Pros- 
pekt fiir Bauhaus-Ausstellung). 1921 
Lithograph on paper, 2 sheets, printed 
on 2 sides, each 8 Vis x n 1 ^" 
(20.5 x 30 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



f 1923 




1st die ecste und bisher einzigo siaaiiicne Schule des Reicns wenn nlcht dec Well welche die icnopferischen Kratte blidonder 

Kunsl autrult m wlrken wahrend ste lebendig slnd und ruglelch mlt der Errlchtung ton Werksiailen au' handwerkllcher Grundlage dcren 
Verblndung und fruchtbare Durchdrlngung ersirebt mil dem Zlel der Verclnlgung lm Bau. Oct Baugedanke soli die verlorene 1. •■•■■■ >. 
wlederbringen. die In elnem nrjrsaekien Akademikertum und elnem verbossellen Kunstgewerbi- jugrunde .{ing; er soil die grosse Be- 
ziehung aula Ganie wiederhersleilen und in elnem hOchsIen Stnn das Gesamlkunslwerk ermoglichen Das Ideal 1st alt, seine Fassung 
Jodoch Immer wleder neu, die Eriuilung 1st der Stll und nie war der Wllle ium SM machtiger als eben heuie. Aber die Verwlrrung der 
Geisler und Begrirte macht, dnss Kampf und Strait um seln Wesen 1st, das aus dem Zusammenprall der Ideen heraus sieh bllden 
wird als die neue Schbnhett. Elne solche Schule, bewegond und In slch selbsi bewegi, wird ungewollt ium Gradmesser der Er- 

scbUtterungen des poMtlschen und gelstlgan Lebens der Zelt und die Geschlchte des Bauhauses wlrd zur Geschlchte gegent 

iSPlI »"d ium Samme.punlrt MlW tile luHunttjainublg hlmmellturmend die Kathadrate des Sotia'llmwi boum wQllafl O'* tnuiYiph, ,on Indul 
und lethnik vor dem Kneg und deren Orgie im Zoicban der Vemlchlung ■.•nrenddotsan. Helen |ene leidensehaWiche Romnntn. »«ch. die imrr. mender Pro 
Ni gegen Maie'iaiumui und Meenonme'ung ion Kun» und leben Ore Not der Zeil mm auch dia Nol der Qeliler Eln Kuli de. Unoamunian. Undeuibai 
•in Hang iu Mymk und Sekilere'ei enlipiang dem Snellen nnch dan lemon Oingen, die In eino Well >oll Zwollel und ZaMnenneii um IhfOn Sinn genu 
iu warden drohian Dor Durchbrucn oer Benrke ktaniicner Anneiil. MrtUrkli die Gran lanloiigkeir det FUhiont. die in der Entdat hung dei Oiieni und der Kit' 
der n™. Diucm. Kinder und Irren Nnhrung oder fieslllleung 'and Der Unprung kuniilerlicnen Scto-fani -urda aoanio geiuchl ole jam* Qremen >. 


"'<"' O-ganm 
alur. gag/node, 
n ium MaDilab 

.r Ober 

el *on Slondf 
I dar gelnne 

eioliicher Luit am S10' 
grill erglbl dat GeoenOi 
tilhanismut aul Europe 

^nba-renrten MOgl'chhei 

.en gagen H 

1" s,ni 

eft .Wonn die ■ " "«"i slch verwirkhcnen. da&s die Menschen slch mil alien Ihren Kratlen. mlt Hen und Geisl, mil Versl.ind und 1 ■-( ■■ . .l> 

werelnigen und voneinander Kanntnis nelimen, so wlrd slch erelgnen, woran Jelzt noch koln Mensch denken kann Allah brauchl nichi m ^4^ IIJ 
scharlen, wir erschatfen seine Welt " Es 1st die Synthase, die Zusammenfaisung, Slelgeruni; und Vordliihtiing alles Poslllvon iur slorken Mlite^Jle 
idee der Mine, torn iron Halbhelt und Schwacho, verslanden als Wage und Glelchgewicni wlrd zur Idee der deutschen Kunsl. Oeutschland, Land 
der Mltte. und Weimar, Hen In dlesem. Is! nlcht turn ersten Mai WahlstaH gelstlger Entscheldung Es gent um die ErkenMnls dessen, was uns ge 
mass 1st. um uns nlcM ;ie!1os iu verhersn Im Ausglelch der polaren Gegonsatie, lernste Vergangenheil wie fernste Zukuntt llebend. Reakllun wie 
Anarchlsmus abgewandi, vom Selbsbweck. Elnzel-lch im Anmarsch aul das Typlsche. vom Prohlemalischon ium Gultlgen und Fesien so werdcn 
wlr iu Tragcrn der Veiantworlung und ;um Gewlssen der Welt Eln Ideallsmus der Aktlvllal. der Kunsl und W>ssenschaH und Technik umlass!. durch- 
drlngl und elnigt und der in Forschung Lohre - Arbeit wlrkl, wird den Kunst-Bau des Menschen auHOhren, der iu dem Weligobaude nur em 
Glelchnls 1st. Wlr konnen heute nlcht mehr tun, als den Plan des Ganzen m bedenken, Grund :u Jegen und die Beusteme iu berelten. Aber 













zelgt Erzlehung und Biidung des Menschen auf dem Wege von Handwerk und Kuns! Die Schule 
will dan blldnerlsch Begabten aus dem nalven Basleln und Werken iu der Erkenntnis seine' 
Mlttel und Ihrer ( und daraus iur Frelhelt schopferlschen Gestaltens fuhren An Schul- 
belsp'elen soldier An mil besonderer Elnstellung aul das Werkmasslgo werden Lehrgange ga- 
lelgt, die von programmallscher Bedeulung fUr den Kunstunterrlcht slnd. 

zelgen selbstandlge und auf den Bau beiogene Werkarbelt der TJschlerel, Holz- und Stelnblld- 
hauerel, WandmaTerel, Glas- und Metallwerktletlen, Tbpferel und Weberel Die Kenntnls des 
Materials, seine Gesetze und Mogllchkelten, die Durchdrlngung des Handwerkllchen und f ormalen 
(kUnstlerlsche Phantasle) soil aus dem Zusammenbruch des zunftmtisslgen Werkens von elnst und 
gelstloser Maschlnenarbell von haute lane Synthase herstellen, die ein Qebllde schtin, neu und 
zweckmasslg macht. Auf dem Wege solcher Geslaltung 1st das Handwerk Im alten Slnne heute 
Uebergang, das die vollendele Mascnlne nlcht ausschllessL sondern erstrebt. Die Ueberleltung 
der Schulwerkslatten In produktlve 1st elne Froge eber auch ein Oebot der Zelt. 

lelgt das elnfache Haus und seine Elnrtchtung. Denn Sinn und Wesen der Bauhausarbelt 1st der 
Bau und unser unmlttelbares Zlel die Gestaltung unserer Wohnstatte nach den BedUrtnlssen und 
Mdgllchkellen heutlgen Lebens. Der Zusammenschlust elles werkmasslgen Gestaltens Im Dlenste 
elner Idee, der Bau- und Hausldee, die Zweckbezlehung und Blndung aller Telle macht kollektlve 
Arbeit zur Notwendlgkelt und damlt den Bau lum Gemelnschaftswerk. Das Sledlungsgelande des 
Bauhauses soil elnem weltgelessten Sledlungsplan dlenen, der Elnzelhauser, Bad, Spiel platz und 
Garten umfassl. Das weltgasteckte Zlel das Bauhauses schllesst den metaphyslschen Bau nlcht 
aus. der liber die Schonhelt des Zweckvollen hlnaus als wahrharies Gesamthunstwerk die Ver- 
wlrkllchung elner abstrakten monumentalen Schonhelt erstrebt 

zeigen Elnzelwerke und Ihre Verelnlgung und Blndung durch Archltektur. Die Au'gabo der bil- 
denden Kunst wer iu alien Zelten grossen Stlls elne ethlsche und sle wlrd es ternerhln seln. SloH 
und Ideen der Darstellung haben slch gewandelt ebenso wle Hire Darstellungsmlttol. Mlt dai 
Heraufkunft elner neuen Baukunst 1st die monumental^ Kunst heute wledor Im Werden. vorweg- 
genommen oder vorbereltet Im Elnzelblld, das slch von archltektonlschen Vorslellungen leiten 
lasst oder auch liber Jegllche Bezlehung slch hlnwegsetzt. Solcrte Unabhanglgkclt schaftt Ihm 
weltesten Splelraum und lasst es die Grenzen blldnerlschen Gestaltens kilhn erweltern. 

zeigl Schau-Splele, Splele zum Schauen verschledener Art, In denen die Ursprunge theatrallscher 
Kunsl zum Ausdruck kommen und zu neuen Wegen der Gestaltung luhren. Sle sollen elner neuen 
Feslllchkell zum Siege helfen, die das Leben durchdnngt. Die Bunnenkunst glelch der Architefciur 
elne synthetlsche Kunst 1st als Welt des Spiels und des Schems Zulluchtson des Irratlonalen 












D I E 

brlngt Vodrage liber Bauha 
Statt, Splelgango.Tanze. Ms 


sbestrebungen, Uber Archltektur, Kunsl. Handwerk, Technlk. Industrie, Schule. Erzl 
onetten- u Llchtsplele. Kino; Muslkallsche Voranstaltungcn; ein Fesl der Bauhausi 

n Park von Weimar oder Umgobung 

















Alfred Arndt 

123 Design for Advertisement (Entwurf fur 
Anzeige). 1921 

Tempera and ink on cardboard, 
4V2 x 71/ns" (11.5 x 18 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

1-/-2 . S< 



Wilhelm Wagenfeld and K.J. Jucker 
124 GLiss Table Lamp (Glaslampe). Replica 
of 192.3-24 original 
Glass and nickel-plated metal, 
i4 3 /i6 x 7V 8 " (36 x 18 cm.) 
Collection Lighting Associates, Inc., 
New York 

Metal Workshop, Weimar Bauhaus 
125 Pot (Kanne). 1914 

German silver, 6 1 /\ ( " (17 cm.) h. 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Josef Hartwig 

126 Chess Set (Schach spiel). 1924 

Wood board and 32 pieces, 13 x 13 x 3^" 
(33 x 33 x8.1cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Gift of Mrs. Lyonel Feininger 

Marianne Brandt 

127 Ashtray (Aschenbecher). 1924 
Brass and nickel-plated metal, 
2'/bX4 s /i«" (6xii cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Gift of John McAndrew 

Marianne Brandt 

128 Ashtray (Aschenbecher). 1924 
Brass and nickel-plated brass, 
2% 6 x 4 3 /i 6 " (6.5 xn cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Marianne Brandt 

129 Teapot (Tee-Extrakt-Kannchen). 

Brass, silver and ebony, 7.^Y\ 6 x 6V6 
(7.5 x 15.5 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 







Paul Klee 

130 Red Balloon (Roter Ballon). 192.2. 

Oil (and oil transfer drawing?) on chalk- 
primed linen gauze mounted on board, 
~lzV2 x 12.14" (3i-7 x 31. 1 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


Paul Klee 

131 Architecture (Arcbitektur). 1913 

Oil on board, ziYm, x 14%" (57 x 37.5 cm.) 
Collection Staatliche Musccn Preussischer 
Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie Berlin 

J 1 I 


j 1 
■H I I H H 


Paul Klee 

132 Tightrope Walker (Seiltanzer). 1923 

Color lithograph on paper, 17V8 x io l A" 
(43.5 x 26 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 

Lyonel Feininger 
133 Gaberndorf No. U. 1924 
Oil on canvas, 39% x 301/2 " 
(99-4 x 77-5 cm-) 

Collection Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 
Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Friends 
of Art 

■HF^JrC?^ JS- ' WJBr ^» 



Oskar Schlemmer 

134 Design for Two Figures from the Triadic 
Bcillet (Yellow Sequence) (Zwei Figur inert 
zum Triadischen Ballett [aus der Gelbcn 
Reihejj. ca. 1919 
Watercolor and pencil on paper, 
8V2 x i2.3/ 8 " (21.6 x 31.4 cm.) 
Collection Graphisches Kahinett Kunst- 
handel Wolfgang Werner KG, Bremen 

Oskar Schlemmer 

135 Figure Design Ki (Figttrenplan Ki). 1921 
From Bauhaus Portfolio, Neue Europaische 

Lithograph on paper, 15% x 7 9 /h," 

(39.7x19.3 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Oskar Schlemmer 

136 Figure Fiicing Right with Geometric 
Forms (Figurine nach rechts mit 
geomctrischcn Formen). 1923 

Gouache on paper, 22I/8 x i6 9 /\&" 
(56.2 x 42.1 cm.) 

Private Collection 


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 

137 Construction (Konstruktion). 1913 
From Kestner Gesellschaft Portfolio 
Lithograph on paper, 23 9 /i S x i7 5 /i S " 
(59.8 x44 cm.) 

Collection University Art Museum, 
University of California, Berkeley 


L.iszlo Moholy-Nagy 

138 Construction (Konstritktion). 1923 
From Kestner Gcsellschaft Portfolio 
Lithograph on paper, 23% x ijYh" 
(60.4 x 44 cm.) 

Collection University Art Museum, 
University of California, Berkeley 


i 9 4 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 

139 Z ///. 1912 

Oil on canvas, 37 ! yi6 x 2.9%" 
(96x75.5 cm.) 

Private Collection, Rheinland 

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 
140 Untitled Pbotogram (Fotogramm 
ohne Titel). 1913 (?) 
Photogram, i$Vs x 11" (38.5 x 2.8 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 
141 2 II. 1925 

Oil on canvas, 37 % x 29 y 8 " 
(95-4x75.1 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Gift of Mrs. Sibyl 
Moholy-Nagy, 1956 




KANDINSKY'S ART, 1923-1925 

142 Kandinsky with Wither Gropius and 
J.J.P. Oud. Weimar, August r.923 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 

143 In the Black Circle (hn schwarzen Kreis). 
January 1913 

(HL z 49 ) 

Oil on canvas, 51^6 x 51M6" 
(130 x 130 cm.) 

Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 


Vasily Kandinsky 
144 On White (Auf Weiss). February-April 
(HL 253) 

Oil on canvas, 41 V2 x 3 8 ^i g" 
(105.5 x 98 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 

Vasily Kandinsky 

145 Traversing Line (Ditrcbgebender Strich). 
March 1923 

Oil on canvas, 55V2 x 79 Vi" ( I 4 I x 202 cm.) 
Collection Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- 
Westfalen, Diisseldorf 


Vasily Kandinsky 
146 hi the Black Square {l»i schwarzem 
Viereck). June 1913 

(HL 259) 

Oil on canvas, 38% x 36%" (97.5 x 93 cm/ 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1937 


Vasily Kandinsky 
147 Composition 8 ({Composition 8). July 1923 
(HL 160) 

Oil on canvas, 55% x 79 1 /s" (104 x zoi cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1937 


Vasily Kandinsky 

148 Study for "Composition 8" (Entivurf fiir 
"Komposition 8"). 1923 

Pencil, India ink and watercolor on paper, 
io 15 /i 6 x 14%" (27.8 x 37.7 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

149 Free Relationship (Freie Beziehung). 
July 192.3 

Watercolor, India ink and pencil on paper, 

14% x 14%" (37.3 x 36.5 cm.) 

Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

150 Circles in a Circle (Kreise im Kreis). 
July 19Z3 

Oil on canvas, 38% x ~ijy%' (98.5 x 
95.6 cm.) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise 
and Walter Arensberg Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 
151 Drawing No. 1 (Zeichnung Nr. 1). 192-3 
Conte crayon and India ink on cardboard, 
I2,y 8 x8>y 16 " (31.5 x 11.7 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d' Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 





Vasily Kandinsky 

152 Yellow Accompaniment (Gelbe 

Begleitung). February-March 1914 
(HL 269) 

Oil on canvas, 39% x 38%" 
(99.2x97.4 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1939 


Vasily Kandinsky 
153 Bright Lucidity (Helle Klarheit). 
May 1914 

Watcrcolor, wash, gouache and India ink 
on paper, 20 x 14%" (50.7 x 36.5 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

154 One Center (Ein Zentrum). November- 
December 1924 
(HLz8 5 ) 

Oil on canvas, 55% x 39%" 
(140.6 x 99.5 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1937 


Vasily Kandinsky 
155 Elementary Effect (Elementare Wirkung). 
December 1924 

India ink and watercolor on brown- 
washed paper mounted on cardboard, 
i3%6 x 8iy lf ," (34.5 x zz.7 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Gift of Mme Nina Kandinsky 


Vasily Kandinsky 
156 In Blue (Im Blau). January 192.5 

Oil on paperboard, 31V2 x tfYu" 
(80 x no cm.) 

Collection Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- 
Westfalen, Diisseldorf 


Vasily Kandinsky 

157 Pointed and Round (Spitz nnd Rund). 
February 1925 
(HL 193) 

Oil on board, 27V2 x i9 5 /s" (69.8 x 50 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon 
R. Guggenheim, 1937 


Vasily Kandinsky 
158 Above and Left (Oben und links). 
March 1915 
(HL z 94 ) 

Oil on wood, 2.7V2 x 19V2" (69.9 x 49.5 cm.) 
Collection Fort Worth Art Museum 


Vasily Kandinsky 
159 Black Triangle (Scbwarzes Dreieck). 
June 192.5 
(HL 320) 

Oil on cardboard, 311/8 x ZlVts" 
(79 x 53-5 cm-) 

Collection Museum Boymans-van 
Beuningen, Rotterdam 


AND BERLIN, 1925-1933 

Hugo Erfurt 

160 Kandinsky : Dresden, 192.5 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

161 Kandinsky's Bauhaus Identification Card. 
Dessau, Summer 1927 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

162 Kandinsky in Class at Dessau Bauhaus. 


Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



bauhaus dessau 

ist sl u w o r o wap 


des bauhauses in dessau 


163 Aerial View of the Dessau Baubaus. 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


164 Faculty at Dessau Bauhaus. 1926 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


165 Kandinsky and Klee Imitating the 
Monument to Goethe and Schiller. 
Hendaye-Plage, 1929 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



Lucia Moholy 
166 Bauhaus Masters' Houses, Dessdii. 
Courtesy Lucia Moholy 



Lucia Moholy 

167 Vastly and Nina Kandinsky in Dessau 
Dining Room. 1926 
Courtesy Lucia Moholy 


i68 View into Kandinsky's Dessau Dining 
Room with Marcel Bretier Furniture. 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

169 Kandinsky's Dessau Living Room with 
Two Paintings by Henri Rousseau. 1932 

Collection Musee National d"Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


170 Kandinsky and Klee. Dessau, 1930 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

171 Kandinsky and Klee Seen from Above. 
Dessau, 1930 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

172 Kandinsky in Lounge Chair. Dessau, 1931 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 



173 Albers and Kandinsky. Dessau, Summer 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

174 Kandinsky Seated on Balustrade. 
Dessau, 1932 


Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Marcel Breuer 

175 a-e Kandinsky's Dessau Dining-Room Table 
and Four Chairs. 1926 

a. Table, white lacquered wood and metal, 
29VS1 x 42.V6" (74 x io 8 cm.); b.-e. chairs, 
wood, metal and black fabric, each 377k," 
(95 cm.) h. 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Marcel Breuer 

176 "Wassily" Chair (Sessel "Wassily"). 

Nickel-plated steel tube and canvas, 
i9 l A" (74 cm.) h. 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Vasily Kandinsky and Vladas Svipas 

177 Design for Kandinsky's Dessau Studio 
(Entwurf des Ateliers Kandinsky in 
Dessau). 1926 

Gustav Adolf Platz, Die Baukunst der 
neuesten Zeit, Berlin, 1927, pi. xx 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Alfred Arndt 

178 Color Design for the Exterior of the 
Masters' Houses, Dessau (Ftirhpliine fur 
die Aussengestaltung der Meisterhauser). 
Dessau, 1926 

Tempera and ink on paper 
mounted on gray cardboard, 29 15 /i6 
x izVie" (76 x 56 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Oskar Schlemmer 

179 Point-Line-Plane (Kandinsky) (Punkt- 
Linie-Fliiche [Kandinsky j). 192.8 
India ink and collage on paper, 
7 15 /i6 x 7 15 /l6" (io.i x 20.1 cm.) 
Schlemmer Family Collection, 
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart 


Vasily Kandinsky 
180 Jacket Design for Point and Line to Plane 
(Umschlagentwurf fiir Ptmkt und Linie ztt 
Flache). 1925 

India ink and gouache on paper, 
io 7 /i6 x 7Y l6 " (16.5 x 18.5 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 

181 Drawing No. 10 ("Centralized complex 
0/ free points") ("Zentraler Komplex 
freier Ptinkte' ). 1925 

India ink on paper, sVu x sVs" 
(13.2 x 13. 1 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

182 Drawing No. 9 ("Line: [Simple and unified 
complex of a number of free lines], made 
more complicated by a free spiral") 
("Linie: [Einfacber und einheitlicher Kom- 
plex einiger Freier], durch freie Spirale 
verkompliziert"). 1925 

India ink on paper, 15 x 9 u /u" 

(38.1 x 24.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 
181 Drawing for Point and Line to Plane 
("Point: Cool tension toward center") 
(Zeichnung fiir Punkt und Lime zu Fldche 
["Ptinkt: Kiihle Spawning zum Zen- 
trutn'l). 1925 

India ink, chalk and gouache on paper, 
10x71/4" (15.6x18.5 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 

184 Drawing for Point and Line to Plane 

("Point: Progressive dissolution") (Zeich- 
nung jiir Punkt und Linie zu Fldche 
["Punkt: Vorsichgehende Aufl&sung"]). 

Pencil, India ink and gouache on paper, 
10 x 714" (25.6 x 18.5 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 

185 Drawing No. 1 ("Point: 9 Ascending 
points") ("Punkt: 9 Punkte im Aujstieg"). 

India ink and India ink wash on paper, 
1211/16x8%" (31.2.x 2.1.3 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Herbert Bayer 

1 86 Mignonette Green (Mignonette Griin). 

Watercolor on paper, 17V2 * 27" 
(44.5 x 68.5 cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Gift of the Artist 


KANDINSKY'S ART, 1926-1927 Herbert Bayer Vasily Kandinsky 

187 Poster for Kandinsky Exhibition (Plakat 188 Several Circles (Einige Kreise). January- 

fiir Kandinsky Ausstellung). Dessau, 1926 February 1926 

Letterpress gravure on paper, (HL 323) 

i8i/ 4 x 25W (46.3 x 65.5 cm.) on on " canvaSi S5 y 4 x 55 3 /8 „ 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, (140-3 x 140.7 cm.) 

New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred PolW,;™ -ru„ c„i d r u 

tt d T Collection 1 he Solomon R. Guggenheim 

' J r - Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 

Guggenheim, 1941 

!$uU ,ssTB - 13 







Vasily Kandinsky 
189 First Study for "Several Circles" (Erster 
Entwurf fiir "Einige Kreise"). 1916 
Pencil and India ink on paper, 
i4% 6 x 14%" (36.6 x 37.4 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 
190 Accent in Pink (Akzent in Rosa). 1916 
(HL 32.5) 

Oil on canvas, 39%6 x 3i"/i6" 
(100.5 x 8°-5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Gift of 
Mme Nina Kandinsky 


Vasily Kandinsky 
191 Blue (Blau). April 19Z7 


Oil on cardboard, 19% x 14V2" 

(49.5 x 36.9 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 

New York, Kathenne S. Dreier Bequest, 



Vasily Kandinsky 

192 Tension in Red (Spannung in Rot). 1926 
(HL 326) 

Oil on board, 26 x 21%" 
(66 x 53.7 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1938 


Vasily Kandinsky 

193 Sharp Hardness (Scharfe Harte). 
August 1926 

Oil on paperhoard, z^Yk, x i3 n /i6" 
(60.8 x 34.7 cm.) 

Collection Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, 



Vasily Kandinsky 
194 Line-Spot (Linie-Fleck). 1927 
(HL 409) 

Oil on paperboard, iSYk, x 26%" 
(45.8 x 65.4 cm.) 

Collection The Santa Barhata Museum of 
Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Gershwin 


Vasily Kandinsky 
195 Hard but Soft (Hart, abet weich). 
October 1927 

Watercolor, opaque white and India ink 
on paper, 19 x 12%" (48.3 x 32.2 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1938 



Vasily Kandinsky 

196 Yellow-Red-Blue (Gelb-Rot-Blau). 
March-May 1925 


Oil on canvas, 50% x 79%" 

(128 x 201.5 cm -) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Color Systems and Sequences 

Eugen Batz 

197 Six-Part Color Circle (Sechsteiliger 
Farbkreis). 1930 
Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
77i6X7 7 /i 6 " (18.9x18.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Eugen Batz 

198 Stepped Color-Scale (Getreppte farb- 
skala). 1930 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
7 9 /i6 x 7 9 / 16 " (19.2. x 19.Z cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Eugen Batz 
199 Color Scale (Farbleiler). 1930 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
ii 15 /l S x 5i/ 16 " (30.3 x 12.8 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Lothar Lang 

200 Color Scale (Farbskahi). n.d. 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard 
mounted on black photographic paper, 
11% x 17V2" (*9-8 x 44.5 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Vasily Kandinsky 

201 Cool Condensation (Kiible Verdichtung). 
June 1930 

Oil on cardboard, 19^5 x I4%6" 
(49 x 37 cm.) 

Private Collection, Switzerland 

t ^ * 


Correspondence of Color and Form 

Vasily Kandinsky 
202 Three Sounds (Drei Kldnge). 
August 1916 

Oil on canvas, 23ys * ZIV2" 
(S9-9 * 59-6 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1941 


Eugen Batz 

203 Correspondence Between Colors and 
Forms (Korrespondenz zwischen Farben 
und Formen). 1929-30 
Tempera over pencil on black paper, 
i6 n /i6 x i3 15 /i 6 " (4*-3 x 32-9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Friedly Kessinger-Petitpierre 
104 Relationship of Angles to Colors (Die 
Winkel in Beziehung zur Farbe). 1929-30 
Watercolor, colored pencils, ink and 
typed texts on paper, 11% x 8%" 
(30.Z x 2.2.-6 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Friedly Kessinger-Petitpierre 

205 Colored Angles and Basic Color Rela- 
tionship (Farbige Winkle und elementare 
Farbbeziehung). 1929-30 
Colored pencils and typed text on paper, 
n 15 / 16 x 87 8 " (30-3 x 2i -4 cm -> 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

di« wlnkel in b«zi«huiig zur fnrb« 

IJiiiii 1 


■I 1 riiijgffigrrr 1 n nn 

farbipe «rtnk«l und •l«Dentnr« f arbb*ciehung 


Fritz Tschaschnig 
206 Correspondence Between Colors and Lines 
(Korrespondenz zwischen Farben und 
Linien). 1931 

Tempera over pencil on black cardboard, 
i6"/i6 x 13" (41.4 x 33 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Hans Thiemann 

207 Representation of a Curve in Color (Far- 
bige Darstellung einer Gebogenen). 
ca. 1930 

Tempera over pencil and typed texts 
on cardboard and paper, i^Ym x 13%" 
(49-3 x 34-9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



1 . . 4; S,fflSP'%^'^HB&*' 


Color Interrelationships 

Vasily Kandinsky 

208 Chord (Zweiklang). June 1928 
Gouache on paper, 19^ x 12-%" 
(48.9 x 32.4 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

209 Two Squares (Zwei Quadrate). 

June 1930 

Tempera on cardboard, 13 Vis x 9%s" 
(33.2 x 23.6 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Eugen Batz 

210 a-c Color Studies (Farbstudien). 1929-30 
Mixed media collage, 3 studies, each 
n I3 /i6 x 8i'/i 6 " (30 x 21.2 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Eugen Batz 
zn Color Contrasts (Farbkontraste). 

Tempera over pencil on paper, 
16% x I2iyi 6 " (42.3 x 32.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Lothar Lang 

212 Free Color Study (Freie Farbstudie). 

Tempera and ink over pencil on 
cardboard, 15'^ x n %" (39.4 x 30.2 cm.] 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


is it- 



Hans Thiemann 

213 Accenting the Center; Balance, Above and 
Below (Betonung des Zentrams, Ansgleich 
von oben und unten). ca. 1930 
Tempera and watercolor over pencil 
with typed texts on paper mounted on 
cardboard, i^Yi^ x i3 u /i6" (-19- 1 x 34-8 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Lothar Lang 

214 Center Accented by the Blue-Red Oppo- 
sition (Mitte betont durcb Wettstreit 
blau-rot). 1919 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
12 x n 13 /i6" (30.5 x 30 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Karl Klode 
215 Transparent and Opaque Planes with 
Weight Above (Durchsichtige and 
undurchsichtige Fldchen mit Schiverge- 
wicbt oh en). 1931 

Tempera on cardboard mounted on card- 
board, 11% x 14%" (30.Z x 37.7 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Color and Space 

Vasily Kandinsky 

216 Unstable (Haltlos). November 1924 

Watercolor, gouache, wash, India ink and 

pencil on paper, nVi x io'/s" 

(29.2 x 25.7 cm.) 

CollectionThe Hilla von Rebay Foundation 



Vasily Kandinsky 

217 Into the Dark (Ins Dunkel). May 1918 
Watercolor on paper, 18% x 12 V2" 
(48 x 31.8 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Repay Foundation 

Hans Thiemann 

218 Yellow Forms on Blue Ground and Blue 
Forms on Yellow Ground (Gelbe Formen 
auf blatien Grund und blaue Formen auf 
gelben Grund). ca. 1930 
Colored papers over pencil with typed 
texts on cardboard, 19% x 13M" 
(49.2 x 34.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


■ ,: : . 


Eugen Batz 

219 Color Scale in Concentric Circles (Farb- 
skala, angelegt ah konzentrische Kreise). 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
77l6X7l/ 2 " (19 x i9-i cm-) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Eugen Batz 

220 Spatial Effect of Colors and Forms (Raum- 
liche Wirkung von Far ben und Formen). 

Tempera over pencil on paper, 
i5 7 /ir, x I2'5/ I6 " (39.2 x 32.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Fritz Tschaschnig 

221 Spatial Effect of Colors and Forms (Raum- 
liche Wirkung von Farben und Formen). 

Tempera over pencil on paper, 
i6 u /i6 x 13V16" (4M x 33-i cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Vasily Kandinsky 

Analytical Drawing (Analytisches Zeicb- 
nen), Bauhaus, vol. z, no. 2-3, 1928 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 
(see cat. no. 324 for complete biblio- 
graphical entry) 



2 unterrlcht 


4 untorrichi kandlnsky : 
analytisches zelchnen 

zweKe itufo: 

gegensiande erkannilich, hiupls 
wesendicha gewlchte (lurch yen 
ausgangspunkl des konstruktlven 

Unnungen fluich firbe, 
■rkte Mnien beieiehnet, 

links Oben: knappes schemi. 

•rich Irltuche 

3 untarricht Kandinsky: 
analyttactiea zalchnan 
drltt* stuls; 

gegeniUnde vollkommen In ensfgiespjfuiungen ubersetzt, 
_ " erschiebungen In olnielnen 

roQir lulbBL 

frltt flu 


Vasily Kandinsky 

Dance Curves: The Dances of Palucca 
(Tanzkurven: zu den Ta'nzen der Palucca), 
Das Kunstblatt, vol. 10, March 1926 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 
(see cat. no. 310 for complete biblio- 
graphical entry) 


Lothar Lang 

222 Analytical Drawing (Analytische Zeicb- 
nitng). 1926-27 

Ink and pencil on cardboard, 
ii«/i6 x SY 8 " (29.6 x 21.8 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Lothar Lang 

223 Analytical Drawing (Analytische Zeich- 
nung). ca. 1926-27 

Ink and pencil on cardboard, 
9 l /s x 7 X A" (2-3-i x 18.4 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Hans Thiemann 

224 Principal Tension (the Green Triangle), 
Overlaid with Network of Secondary 
Tensions (Eine Hauptspannung [das 
griine Dreieck], dariiber ein Netz von 
Nebenspannungen). ca. 1930 
Colored inks on paper with transparent 
paper with type mounted on cardboard, 
2 layers, i9% 6 x 13%" 
(49.3 x 34.9 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

. • 


Bella Ullmann-Broner 

225 Analytical Drawing (Analytische Zeicb- 
nung). 1929-30 

Tempera over pencil on cardboard and 
colored inks on transparent paper, 3 layers, 
8'/i x n'/s" (20.9 x 28.2 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


*7 l 

Charlotte Voepel-Neujahr 

226 Analytical Drawing with Schema (Analy- 
tische Zeichnung wit Schema). 1927-18 
Colored and lead pencils on transparent 
paper, 7% 6 x 11" (19.2 x 27.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Charlotte Voepel-Neujahr 

227 Analytical Drawing (Analytische Zeich- 
nung). ca. 1927-28 
Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
11% x 9V2" (2.9.9 x 2 4- T cm -) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


/ . 

Charlotte Vocpcl-Neujahr 

228 Analytical Drawing with Schemata (Analy- 
tiscbe Zeicbnung mil Schemata). 
ca. 1927-18 

Colored and lead pencils on transparent 
paper, 7 9 /i 6 x n" (19.2 x 27.9 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Charlotte Voepel-Neujahr 

229 Color Composition After an Analytical 
Drawing (Farbkomposition nach analy- 
tischer Zeicbnung). ca. 1927-28 
Tempera over pencil on cardboard, 
I3 3 /8X 9V4" (34x23.5 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Friedly Kessinger-Petitpierre 

230 The Square, Sheet $ (Das Quadrat, 
Blatt j). 1930 

Ink on cardboard, 10*4 x io-Vs" 

(26 x 26.4 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Friedly Kessinger-Petitpierre 

231 The Square, Sheet 11 (Das Quadrat, 
Blatt 11). 1930 

Ink on cardboard, 1014 x 10I4" 
(26.1 x 26 cm.) 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Hermann Roseler 
>.}Z Composition ({Composition). 192.7 
Oil on composition hoard, 
15% xi$y 4 " (40 x40 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 


Karl Klode 

233 Untitled Composition (Komposition ohne 
Titel). 193 1 

Oil on jute-covered plywood, 
24% x 23V2" (62.8 x 59.7 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Vasily Kandinsky 

234 Scene II, Gnome (Bild II, Gnomus). 

Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an 
Exhibition, Friedrich-Theater, Dessau 
Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, 8Vu x r4Vis" (10.5 x 35.8 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Kbln 


Vasily Kandinsky 

235 Scene XU, The Marketplace in Limoges 
(Bild XII, Der Marktplatz in Limoges). 

Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an 
Exhibition, Friedrich-Theater, Dessau 
Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, 6 l / 2 x 14^16" (16.5 x 36 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
verstat Koln 


Vasily Kandinsky 
236 Figure for Scene XII, Markctwoman 

(Figurine zu Bild XII, Marktfrau). 192.8 
Figure/costume design for Mussorgsky's 
Pictures at an Exhibition, Friedrich- 
Theater, Dessau 

Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, 6 13 /i 6 x $V S " (17.3 x 13 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 

Vasily Kandinsky 

237 Scene Xlll, The Catacombs (Bild XIII, 
Die Katakomben). 1928 

Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an 
Exhibition, Friedrich-Theater, Dessau 
Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, 9% 6 x 9 7 / 16 " (14 x 14 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 


Vasily Kandinsky 

238 Scene XV, The Hut of Baba Yaga (Bild XV, 
Die Hiitte der BabaYaga). 1928 
Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures .it an 
Exhibition, Friedrich-Theater, Dessau 
Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, y^/u x 11%" (i9-9 x 29-9 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 

Vasily Kandinsky 

239 Scene XVI, The Great Gate of Kiev (Bild 
XVI, Das grosse Tor von Kiev). 1928 
Stage set for Mussorgsky's Pictures at an 
Exhibition, Friedrich-Theater, Dessau 
Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, 8 3 / 8 x 10% " (21.2 x 27.3 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 

0000 0000 00 

O0ooooo C o 



°C°O U ! W , ;] ° ° O ° ° ° 



000 000 

O ° o 


Vasily Kandinsky 
240 Figures for Scene XVI (Figurinen zu Bild 
XVI). 1928 

Figure/prop designs for Mussorgsky's 
Pictures at an Exhibition, Friedrich- 
Theater, Dessau 

Tempera, watercolor and India ink on 
paper, %Y\ 6 x 14" (zo.8 x 34.5 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 


Oskar Schlemmer 

241 Costume Designs for the "Triadic Ballet" 
(Figurenplan fiir das "Triadische Ballett"). 
ca. 1922. 

Watercolor, gouache and ink over graphite 
and collage of typewritten legends on 
paper, 15 x 21" (38.1 x 53.3 cm.) 
Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Museum Purchase 


Oskar Schlemmer 

242 The Figural Cabinet (Das Figurale 
Kabinctt). 1922 

Watercolor, pencil and pen and ink on 
paper, 12^ x 17%" (30.9 x 45.1 cm.) 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York; 
Joan and Lester Avnet Collection 


Andrew Weininger 

243 Mechanical Stage Revue, Phase I (Revue 
Mechanische Biihne, 1. Phase). 1926-27 

Tempera, watercolor, pencil and ink on 
paper, 4% x 77 8 " (n-7 x 20 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 

Andrew Weininger 

244 Mechanical Stage Revue, Phase 11 (Revue 
Mechanische Biihne, 11. Phase). 1926-27 
Tempera, watercolor, pencil and ink on 
paper, 4% 6 x 7~>/g" (11.6 x 20 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 

Andrew Weininger 

245 Mechanical Stage Revue, Phase III (Revue 
Mechanische Biihne, HI. Phase). 1926-27 
Tempera, watercolor, pencil and ink on 
paper, 4^x7%" (11.7 x20 cm.) 
Collection Theatermuseum der Uni- 
versitat Koln 


1920s AND EARLY 1930s 


Vasily Kandinsky 
246 Hard in Slack (Hart im Locker). 
October 1927 

Watercolor, gouache, India ink and pencil 
on paper, 19 x 12%" (48.3 x 32.3 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

247 On Points (Anf Spitzen). 1928 

Oil on canvas, 55V& x SSVs" 
(140 x 140 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 
248 Colored Sticks (Bunte Stiibchen). 
(HL 434) 

Varnished tempera on board, 16% x 
12%" (4-7 x 32-7 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1938 


Paul Klee 
249 Threatening Snoivstorm (Drobender 
Schneesturm). 192.7 

Tempera and ink on paper, 19I4 x 12%" 
(48.9x31.4 cm.) 

Collection Scottish National Gallery of 
Modern Art, Edinburgh, Bequeathed by 
Miss Anna Blair, 1952 


Paul Klcc 

250 Portrait of an Equilibrist (Artistenbildnis). 

Oil and collage on cardboard over wood 
with painted plaster border, 24% x 15%" 
(63.2 x 40 cm.) 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund 


Lyonel Feininger 

251 Church at Gelmeroda (Gelmeroda XU). 

Oil on canvas, 39V2 x 31%" 

(100.3 x 80.3 cm.) 

Collection Museum of Art, Rhode Island 

School of Design, Providence; Gift of 

Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 



Vasily Kandinsky 

252 Vertical Accent (Vertikalakzent). 
November 1928 

Watercolor, wash and India ink on paper, 
13V2 x 9%" (34.2 x 24.6 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

253 Light in Heavy (Leicht im Scbiver). 
May 1929 

Oil on paperboard, 19V2 x 19V2" 
(49-5 x 49-5 cm.) 

Collection Museum Boymans-van 
Beuningen, Rotterdam 


Vasily Kandinsky 
254 Unshakeable (Wackelfest). 
December 1929 

Gouache on paper, 14V4 * 14%" 
(36.1 x 36 cm.) 

Collection The Hilla von Rebav Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

255 Horizontal Blue (Waagerecht-Blau). 
December 1929 

Watercolor, gouache and blue ink on 
paper, 9V2 x 12V2" (24.2 x 31.7 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


[ 1 








Vasily Kandinsky 
256 Taut Line (Gespannte Linie). July 193 1 
Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
18% x ioVS" (48 x 25.9 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 

257 Thirteen Rectangles (Dreizehn Rechtecke). 
June 1930 
(HL 525) 

Oil on cardboard, 27% x z^Ad' 
(69.5 x 59.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Paul Klee 
258 Castle (Schloss). 1930 

Ink and vvatercolor on paper, 17W x 
19" (43.8 x 48.1cm.) 
Private Collection 


Paul Klee 

259 In the Current Six Thresholds (In der 
Stromung Sechs Schwellen). 192.9 
Oil and tempera on canvas, 17% x 17%" 
(43-5 x 43.5 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


I , 


Vasily Kandinsky 

260 Untitled. 1930 

Watercolor, brown and India inks and 
pencil on paper, 8% x 6%" (22.3 x 
16. 1 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 

Vasily Kandinsky 

261 Drawing No. 22 (Zeichnung Nr. zz). 

India ink on paper, 11% x 14%" 

(2-9-5 x 36.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 

Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

262 Massive Structure (Massiver Bau). 
June 1932 

Gouache on paper mounted on board, 
13x1914" (33x48.7 cm.) 
Collection Kupferstichkabinett, 
Kunstmuseum Basel 


Josef Albers 

263 Pillars. 1918 

Sandblasted flashed glass, 11% x ii'/S" 
(29.8 x 31. 1 cm.) 

Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York, George A. Hearn 
Fund, 1970 


Vasily Kandinsky 

264 White on Black (Weiss auf Schwarz). 

Oil on board, 27V2 x Z7V2" (70 x 70 cm.; 
Collection Edward Albee, New York 


Vasily Kandinsky 

265 Drawing No. zi, for "White on Black" 
(Zeichnung Nr. 11, zu "Weiss auf 
Schwarz"). 1930 
India ink on paper, 10% x 8 n /i6" 
(27.3 x 22.1 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 

266 White Sharpness (Weiss Scharfe). 
November 1930 

Oil on cardboard, 27% x 19V2" 
(69.5 x 49.5 cm.) 

Collection Museum Boymans-van 
Beuningen, Rotterdam 


Paul Klee 

267 Daringly Poised (Getvagt wdgend). 1930 
Watercolor, pen and India ink on paper, 
izVa x 9%" (31 x 24.6 cm.) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Bern 


Vasily Kandinsky 

268 Gray (Gran). January 1931 


Oil on paperboard, 27I/2 x 2.3 V£* 
(69.9x59.7 cm.) 

Private Collection, Cologne 


Josef Albers 

269 Untitled (K-Trio). 1932 

Gouache on paper, 18 x 17^5" 
(45.7 x44 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 



Vasily Kandinsky 

270 Traversing (Durchgehend). July 1928 
Watcrcolor and India ink on paper, 
14% x i4 7 / ]f ," (37.4 x 36.7 cm.) 
Collection Musce National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

271 Quiet Assertion (Ruhige Behauptung). 
December 192.9 

Watercolor and India ink on paper, 
15% x 2.1 Va" (4°-5 * 53.8 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 

: . 


Vasily Kandinsky 

272 Pink Sweet (Rosa-Suss). December 1919 


Oil on board, 17V4 x 18%" 
(69.2 x 47.8 cm.) 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 

273 Brownish (Braanlich). February 1931 

(HL 550) 

Oil on Masonite, 19% x 2.7%" 
(49.1 x 70.Z cm.) 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 
William L. Gerstle Collection, Gift of 
William L. Gerstle 


Lyonel Feininger 

274 Clouds Above the Sea U (Wolketl am 
Meer II). 1913 

Oil on canvas, 1414 x 14" (36.2 x 61 cm.) 
Collection Altonaer Museum, Hamburg 


Vasily Kandinsky 

275 Fixed Flight (Fi.xierter Flug). February 
(HL 571) 

Oil on wood, 19%,; x 27% 6" (49 x 70 cm.) 
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght 


Vasily Kandinsky 
276 Drawing No. 17 (Zeichnung Nr. 17). 

Pen and India ink on yellow paper 
mounted on cardboard, 13% x 9" 
(34.9 x 12.8 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




Vasily Kandinsky 

277 Glimmering (Flimmern). July 1931 
Watercolor and colored inks on paper, 
131/2 x 13%" (34.2 x 34.8 cm.) 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 
















Paul Klee 
278 Crystallization (Kristallisation). 1930 
Water-color, pen and India ink on paper, 
iz l A x I2. u /i 6 " (31 x 32.1 cm.) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Bern 



Paul Klee 

279 Open Book (Offenes Buch). 1930 
Gouache over white lacquer on canvas, 
18 x 16%" (45.7 x 42.5 cm.) 
Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 

-> . "* " 

>;>,-;... :•;>. 


•^. . 


Josef Albers 

280 Steps (Stufen). 1931 

Gouache with pencil on paper, x8 ! /i x 
2314" (46.1 x 59 cm.) 
Collection Hirshhorn Museum and 
Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C. 


Vasily Kandinsky 

281 Now Upwards! (Jetzt Atif!). June 193 1 

Watercolor, wash and ink on paper, 
19 x 24" (48.1 x 61 cm.) 

Collection The Hilla von Rebay Foundation 


Vasily Kandinsky 

282 Second Etching for "Cabiers d'Ait" 
(Zweite Kadierung fiir die Editions 
"Cabiers d' Art"). 1932 
Drypoint on wove paper, 15% x 12V2" 
(39.9 x 31.6 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


Figures and Signs 

Vasily Kandinsky 

283 Pink (Rosa). June 1928 

Watercolor and ink on paper, i2 5 / 8 x 
i9 3 /s" (31x49.3 cm.) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise 
and Walter Arensberg Collection 


Alexej Jawlensky 

284 Dawn (Morgengrauen). 1928 

Oil on cardboard, sight 16% x I2% 6 " 
(42.6 x 31.9 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Alexej Jawlensky 
285 Frost. 1929 

Oil on paperboard, 16% x 13V6" 
(42.9 x 33.3 cm.) 

The Milton Wichner Collection Bequest, 
Long Beach Museum of Art, California 


Vasily Kandinsky 

286 Upward (Empor). October 1929 

(HL 470) 

Oil on board, 17V2 * 19 1 /!" (70 x 49 cm.) 
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 


Vasily Kandinsky 

287 Jocular Sounds (Scherzklange). 
December 192.9 

Oil on cardboard, 13% x 19V4" 
(34.9x48.9 cm.) 

Collection Busch-Reisinger Museum, 
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, Purchase, Museum Association 
Fund and in memory of Eda K. Loeb 



Vasily Kandinsky 

288 Serious-Joke (Ernst-Spass). May 1930 

Oil on wood, 19^6 x z-j% b " (49 x 70 cm.) 
Private Collection 

3 2 3 

Paul Klee 
289 jumper (Springer). 1930 

Watercolor and varnish on unprimed 
canvas on wood, 20V16 x 20%" 
(51x53 cm.) 

Private Collection, Switzerland 


■ .: 


3 M 

Paul Klee 

290 Six Kinds (Seeks Arten). 1930 

Watercolor on canvas, 11% x i8'yi 6 " 

(2.9.5 x 48 cm.) 

Private Collection, Switzerland 

Vasily Kandinsky 

291 For Nina (for Christmas 192.6) (Fiir Nina 
[fiir Weihnacht 1926J). November 1926 

(HL 364) 

Oil on cardboard, li 1 ^ x ij 9 /u" 

(32.8 x 44.6 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 


Vasily Kandinsky 

292 Levels (Etagenj. March 1929 


Oil on board, 2214 x 16" (56.6 x 40.6 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York 


Vasily Kandinsky 
293 Light (Leichtes). April 1930 
(HL 504) 

Oil on wood, zjY\g x l8 1 %s" (69 x 48 cm.) 
Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans 


Vasily Kandinsky 
294 Lines of Marks (Zeichenreihen). 1931 
Tempera and India ink on paper, 
i67i 6 x 19W16" (41-7 x 5°-3 cm -) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Basel 

3 z8 

Organic Form 

Vasily Kandinsky 
295 Calm (Stilles). 19x6 

Oil on wood panel, 19 x 1814" 
(48.3 x 46.3 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum, New York, Gift of Solomon R. 
Guggenheim, 1941 


Vasily Kandinsky 
296 Pointed Black (Spitzes Schwarz). 
January 1931 

Oil on board, 27% 6 x 23 %" (70 x 60 cm.) 
Collection Kunstmuseum Basel 


Vasily Kandinsky 

297 Green (Griin). May 1931 


Oil on paperboard, 23V2 x 2.7V2" 
(59.7x69.9 cm.) 

Lent by Galerie Beyeler, Basel 


Vasily Kandinsky 

298 Gloomy Situation (Triibe Lage). 
July 1933 

Watercolor, gouache and pencil on paper, 
18% x z6Y s " (47.3 x 66.8 cm.) 
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Hilla Rebay Collection 


Vasily Kandinsky 
299 Drawing No. z$ (Zeichnung Nr. 1;). 

India ink on paper, i}, x V\(, x i6 li /\&" 
(35.1 x 42.7 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 
Kandinsky Bequest 




300 a-c Music Room at the German Building 
Exhibition. Berlin, May 9-August 2, 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Facing page: 

Vastly Kandinsky 

301 Maquette for Ceramic Mural for the 
Music Room, German Building Exhibi- 
tion, Berlin [Entwurf zu keramischem 
Wandbild fiir den Musikraum, Deutsche 
Bauausstellung, Berlin). March 1931 

Gouache No. 1 (HL 554A) 
Gouache on paper, 17% x Z9 9 /u" 
(45 x 75 cm.) 
Collection Artcurial, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 

302 Maquette for Ceramic Mural for the 
Music Room, German Building Exhibi- 
tion, Berlin (Entwurf zu keramischem 
Wandbild fiir den Musikraum, Deutsche 
Bauausstellung, Berlin). March 1931 
Gouache No. 2 (HL 554B) 
Gouache on paper, 17% x 39^6" 
(45X99-5 cm.) 
Collection Artcurial, Paris 

Vasily Kandinsky 
303 Maquette for Ceramic Mural for the 
Music Room, German Building Exhibi- 
tion, Berlin (Entwurf zu keramischem 
Wandbild fiir den Musikraum, Deutsche 
Bauausstellung, Berlin). March 1931 
Gouache No. 3 (HL 554C) 

Gouache on paper, 17% x 19 9 /m," 
(45x75 cm.) 

Collection Artcurial, Paris 



=i^i B 



Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 
304 Side Chair (Stubl). 1927 

Chrome-plated steel and leather, 31" 
(78.7 cm.) h. 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York, Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 

305 Side Chair with Arms (Sessel). 1927 
Nickel-plated steel tubes and wicker, 
3° 15 /i6" (78-5 cm.) h. 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 
306 Table (Tisch). 1917 

Chrome-plated steel tubes and plywood 
board, 24 x z3 5 /s" (61 x 60 cm.) 
Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 



, **^%^ 

307 KimJinsky in His Studio. Berlin, 1933 

Collection, Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Pans 

Hugo Erfurt 

308 Portrait of Kandinsky. Dresden, 1933 

Collection, Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 


Vasily Kandinsky 

309 Layers (Scbichten). February 1932 


Tempera and oil on wood, 19% x 15%" 
(50.1 x 39.7 cm.) 

Collection Nathan Cummings, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 

310 Decisive Rose (Entscheidendes Rosii). 
March 1932 


Oil on canvas, 31% x i9Ys" 

(80.9 x 100 cm.) 

Collection The Solomon R. Guggenheim 

Museum, New York 



Vasily Kandinsky 
311 Balance Pink (Ausgleich Rosa). 
January 1933 

Oil and tempera on canvas, 36'/^ x 28%" 
(92 x 73 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 
Paris, Kandinsky Bequest 

Vasily Kandinsky 
312 Left-Center-Rigbt (Links-Mitte-Rechts). 
June 1933 

Watercolor, opaque white, wash and 
India ink on paper, 15% x 22%" 
(39.8 x 57.8 cm.) 

Collection The Hilla von Rebay 


Vasily Kandinsky 

313 Similibei. August 1933 

Watercolor on paper, 15*4 x 12I4'' 
(38.7x31 cm.) 

Lent by Galerie Beyeler, Basel 


Vasily Kandinsky 

314 Development in Brown (Entwicklung 
in Braun), August 1933 
(HL 594) 

Oil on canvas, 39 13 /i 6 x 47 7 A & " 
(101 x 120.5 cm.) 

Collection Musee National d'Art 
Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 




Vasily Kandinsky 

315 "O dukhovnom v iskusstve" ("On The 
Spiritual in Art"), Trudy vserossiiskago 
s'ezda Khudozhnikov, Dekabr '1911- 
lanvar 'iyiigg, vol. I, Petrograd, Golike 
and Vilborg, October 1914 
Not in exhibition 

Vasily Kandinsky 

316 Om Konstnaren (On the Artist), Stock- 
holm, Gummesons Konsthandels 
Forlog, 1916 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Vasily Kandinsky 

317 "Stupeni." Tekst khitdozhnika ("Steps." 
Text of the Artist), Moscow, IZO NKP, 

Collection Professor K.P. Zygas, Los 

318 Erste russische Kunstausstellung (First 
Russian Art Exhibition), exhibition cata- 
logue, Galerie Van Diemen, Berlin, 1922 
Cover design by El Lissitzky 
Collection Leonard Hutton Galleries, 
New York 

319 Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar, 1919-1923 
(Bauhaus, 1919-1923), Weimar and 
Munich, Bauhausverlag, 1923 
Cover design by Herbert Bayer; typogra- 
phy by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 
a.) Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 
b.) Collection The Robert Gore Rifkind 
Center for German Expressionist Studies, 
Gift of The Robert Gore Rifkind Foun- 
dation, The Los Angeles County Museum 
of Art 


Vasily Kandinsky 
320 "Tanzkurven: Zu den Tanzen der Palucca" 
("Dance Curves: The Dances of Palucca"), 
Das Kunstblatt, Potsdam, vol. 10, March 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 

Vasily Kandinsky 

321 Pwikt and Lime zu Fldche. Beitrag zur 
Analyse der malerischen Elemente (Point 
and Line to Plane. A Contribution to the 
Analysis of Pictorial Elements), Bauhaus 
Book No. 9, Munich, Albert Langen, 1916 
a.) Collection The Solomon R. Guggen- 
heim Museum, New York 
b,c.) Collection The Hilla von Rebay 

322 Kandinsky Jubilaums-Ausstellung zwn 60. 
Geburtstage (Kandinsky Jubilee Exhibition 
on His 60th Birthday), exhibition cata- 
logue, Galerie Neumann & Nierendorf, 
Berlin, October-November 1916 
Collection The Hilla von Rebay 

Ludwig Grote 

326 "Biihnenkompositionen von Kandinsky" 
("Stage Compositions by Kandinsky"), 
ho; Internationale Revue, Amsterdam, 
vol. 2 [July], 1928 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 

Vasily Kandinsky 

327 "Modest Mussorgsky: 'Bilder einer Aus- 
stellung' " ("Modest Mussorgsky: 'Pic- 
tures at an Exhibition' "), Das Kunstblatt, 
Potsdam, vol. 14, August 1930 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 

Vasily Kandinsky 
323 "Und, Einiges iiber synthetische Kunst" 
("And, Some Remarks on Synthetic Art") 
iio; Internationale Revue, Amsterdam, 
vol. I, January 1927 

Collection The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York 

Vasily Kandinsky 

324 "Analytisches Zeichnen" ("Analytical 
Drawing"), Bauhaus, Dessau, vol. 2, no. 
2-3, 1928 

Collection Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 

Ludwig Grote 

325 "Junge Bauhausmaler" ("Young Bauhaus 
Painters"), Bauhaus, Dessau, vol. 2, no. 2-3, 

Not in exhibition 



By Vivian Endicott Barnett with Susan B. 
Hirschfeld, Lewis Kachur, Clark V. Pol- 
ing, Jane Sharp and Susan Alyson Stein 

The following is a modified version of the 
chronology in Kandinsky at the Guggen- 
heim, New York, 1983. 


December 4. Vasilii Vasilievich Kandinsky 
born in Moscow to Vasilii, a tea merchant, 
and Lidia Tikheeva Kandinsky. 


Family moves to Odessa. Parents are 


Attends Gymnasium where he learns to 
play piano and cello. First of yearly trips, 
made until 1885, to Moscow with father. 


Studies economics and law at University 
of Moscow. 


May 28-June 30. Makes expedition to 
Vologda province sponsored by Society of 
Natural Science and Anthropology. Subse- 
quently publishes two articles on tribal 
religious beliefs and peasant law. 

Travels to Paris. 


Completes university studies and passes 
law examination. Marries cousin Ania 
Second trip to Paris. 


Writes dissertation "On the Legality of 
Laborer's Wages." Appointed teaching 
assistant at Faculty of Law, University of 


Becomes artistic director of KuSnerev 
printing firm in Moscow. Designs covers 
for chocolate boxes. 


Sees a Haystack by Monet at French In- 
dustrial and Art Exhibition in Moscow. 
Declines lectureship at University of 
Dorpat; instead moves to Munich to 
study painting and soon enrolls in art 
school of Anton Azbe. 


Meets Alexej Jawlensky and Marianne 
von Werefkin as well as other Russian art- 
ists Igor Grabar and Dmitrii Kardovsky, 
who spend time in Munich and study with 


Fails entrance examination to Munich 
Academy; works independently. 


Student of Franz von Stuck at Academy in 


Participates in Moskovskoe tovarishche- 

stvo khudozhnikov (Moscow Association 

of Artists) annual; shows with them yearly 

until 1908. 


April. His first art review, "Kritika kriti- 
kov" ("Critique of Critics"), published in 
Novosti dnia (News of the Day), Moscow. 
May. Cofounds Phalanx exhibition society; 
becomes its president later this year. 
August 15-November. First Phalanx exhi- 
bition. Eleven more are held until 1904. 
Fall. Participates in Exhibition of the 
Association of South Russian Artists, 

Trip to Odessa. 

Phalanx art school established; Kandinsky 
teaches drawing and painting there. 


Meets Gabriele Miinter, a student in his 

painting class. 

Reviews contemporary art scene in 

Munich, "Korrespondentsiia iz Miunk- 

hena" ("Correspondence from Munich"), 

for periodical Mir Iskusstva (World of 

Art), St. Petersburg. 

Participates in Mir Iskusstva exhibition, 

St. Peterburg. 

Spring. Participates in VI Berlin 


Meets David Burliuk. 



Spring. Stops teaching; Phalanx school 


Late August. Peter Behrens offers Kan- 

dinsky position teaching decorative 

painting at Diisseldorf Kunstgewer- 

beschule (School of Arts and Crafts). By 

September declines offer. 

Meets Vladimir Izdebsky in Munich. 


April. Works on theory of colors. 
Summer. Participates in Munich Kunst- 
verein exhibition. 

Makes craft designs for Vercinigung fi'ir 
angewandte Kunst (Society for Applied 
Art), Munich. 

June. Participates in inaugural exhibition 
of Les Tendances Nouvelles, Paris; begin- 
ning of association with this group. 
September. Separates from wife. 
Fall. Participates in Salon d'Automne, 
Paris; exhibits there yearly until 1910. 
December. Last Phalanx exhibition; by 
year's end association dissolves. Kandin- 
sky's Stikhi bez slov (Poems without 
Words), woodcuts, published by Stroga- 
nov, Moscow. 

Participates in first exhibition of New 
Society of Artists, St. Petersburg, and 
XV Exhibition of the Association of South 
Russian Artists, Odessa; shows with latter 
five times, until 1909. 
Receives medal at Exposition Interna- 
tionale de Paris. 


Joins Deutscher Kiinstlerbund. 
Awarded medal by XII e Exposition du 
Travail, Paris. 
Elected to jury of Salon d'Automne, Paris. 


Spring. Participates in XI Berlin Secession. 
May 22. Arrives in Paris with Miinter. 
Lives at 12, rue des Ursulines, Paris. At 
end of June moves to 4, petite rue des Bi- 
nelles, Sevres, where he and Miinter live 
for one year. 

Joins Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts 
et des Lettres, Paris, the organization that 
sponsored Les Tendances Nouvelles and 
its exhibitions. 

Summer. Participates in Ausstellung des 
Deutschen Kiinstlerbund, Weimar. 
July. Participates in Exhibition of Signs 
and Posters organized by Leonardo da 
Vinci Society, Moscow. 
October-November. Participates in 
Galerie Wertheim exhibition, Berlin. 

December. Participates in XII Berlin 


Winter. Participates in Briicke exhibition, 



Spring. Participates in Salon des Inde- 
pendants, Paris; exhibits there until 1912. 
May. Shows 109 works in Le Musee du 
Peuple exhibition, Angers, sponsored by 
Les Tendances Nouvelles. 
Mid-June. Returns to Munich. 
Begins Kldnge woodcuts. 

September 1907-April 1908. Lives with 

Miinter in Berlin. 

December. Participates in XIV Berlin 



Mid-August-September. First sojourn 
in Murnau; spends summer with Miinter, 
Jawlensky and Werefkin at Griesbrau Inn. 

Meets Thomas de Hartmann; begins 
collaborative work with him. 


Winter. Participates in Sergei Makovsky's 

Salon, St. Petersburg. 


January. Cofounds Neue Kiinstlervereini- 
gung Miinchen (NKVM) (New Artists' 
Society of Munich) and is elected its 

Spring. Begins writing abstract stage 
compositions Der gelbe Klang, Griiner 
Klang and Schwarz und Weiss (The Yel- 
low Sound, Green Sound and Black and 

Summer. His Xylographies, woodcuts, 
published by Les Tendances Nouvelles in 

July. Participates in Allied Artists' Associ- 
ation annual, Royal Albert Hall, London; 
shows with them until 1913. 
July-August. Miinter acquires house in 
Murnau; she and Kandinsky often stay 
here until outbreak of World War I. 

First Hinterglasmalereien (glass paint- 

First Improvisations. 

October. Becomes Munich correspondent 
for journal Apollon (Apollo), St. Peters- 
burg; writes reviews, "Pismo iz Miunk- 
hena" ("Letters from Munich"), for one 

December 1-15. First NKVM exhibition, 
Heinrich Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 

December 17, 1909-February 6, 1910. 
Participates in Izdebsky's first Interna- 
tional Salon, Odessa, which travels to 
Kiev, St. Petersburg and Riga during 1910. 

Begins Kldnge prose poems. 


January. Paints first Compositions. 

September 1-14. Second NKVM exhibi- 
tion at Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 

October-December. Visits Weimar and 
Berlin en route to Russia. Spends time in 
St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa. In 
contact with older avant-garde artists 
Izdebsky, Nikolai Kul'bin and Vladimir 

December. Participates in Bubnovnyi 
valet (Jack of Diamonds) exhibition, 
Moscow. Shows fifty-four works at Iz- 
debsky's second International Salon, 
Odessa. Catalogue includes Kandinsky's 
essay "Soderzhanie i forma" ("Content and 
Form"). Returns to Munich at end of year. 
Completes manuscript of Uber das Geistige 
in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in 


January 2. Hears Arnold Schonberg's 

music for the first time; he soon initiates 

correspondence with the composer. 

January 10. Resigns NKVM presidency. 

February 9. His essay "Kuda idet 'novoe' 

iskusstvo?" ("Whither the 'New' Art?") 

published in periodical Odesskie novosti 

(Odessa News). 

June. Writes to Franz Marc about plans 

for Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) 


Mid-September. Meets Schonberg. 

Fall. Divorce from Ania Shemiakina 


Meets Paul Klee. Correspondence with 

Robert Delaunay, Natalia Goncharova 

and Mikhail Larionov. 

December 2. Kandinsky, Marc, Miinter 

and Alfred Kubin leave NKVM after jury 

rejects Kandinsky's Composition V. 

December 18. Erste Ausstellung der Redak- 

tion der Blaue Reiter (First Exhibition of 

the Editorial Board of the Blue Rider) 

opens at Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, 


December. Uber das Geistige in der Kunst 

published by Piper, Munich. 

December 29, 31. Shorter Russian version 

of Uber das Geistige in der Kunst read by 


Kul'bin at Seco?id All-Russian Congress of 
Artists, St. Petersburg. 

Writes essay "Uber Biihnenkomposition" 
("On Stage Composition"). 


January. Participates in Jack of Diamonds 
exhibition, Moscow. 
February 12-April. Second Blaue Reiter 
exhibition held at Galerie Hans Goltz, 

April. Second edition of Uber das Geistige 
in dcr Kunst published by Piper, Munich. 
May. Der Blaue Reiter almanac pub- 
lished by Piper, Munich. 
May 25-September 30. Participates in 
Sonderbund Internationale Kunstausstel- 
lung, Cologne. 

July 7-31. Participates in Moderncr Bund 
exhibition, Zurich. 

July. Extracts from Uber das Geistige in 
der Kunst published by Alfred Stieglitz in 
Camera Work, New York. 
Fall. Third edition of Uber das Geistige in 
der Kunst published by Piper, Munich. 
October 2-30. First one-man exhibition in 
Berlin at Galerie Der Sturm; exhibition 
subsequently tours to other German cities. 
October 16-December 13. Travels in Rus- 
sia, stays in Odessa and Moscow. 
November 5-18. One-man exhibition at 
Gallery Oldenzeel, Rotterdam. 
December 10. Kurdibowsky presents 
Kandinsky's art theories in lecture at 
meeting of Society of Painters, St. Peters- 

December. Several Klange poems pub- 
lished without Kandinsky's consent in 
Russian vanguard publication Poshche- 
china obshchestvennomu vkusu (A Slap in 
the Face of Public Taste), Moscow. 
Klange, prose poems and woodcuts, pub- 
lished by Piper, Munich. 


Kandinsky and Marc prepare for second 
Der Blaue Reiter almanac, but volume 
never appears. 

February 17-March 15. Shows one work, 
Improvisation 27 (Garden of Love), at 
Armory Show, New York, which travels 
to Chicago and Boston. 

Kandinsky, Erich Heckel, Klee, Oskar 
Kokoschka, Kubin and Marc plan to 
collaborate on Bible illustrations. 
September. Kandinsky's essay "Malerei 
als reine Kunst" ("Painting as Pure Art") 
appears in Der Sturm, Berlin. 

September 20-December 1. Participates in 
Herwarth Walden's Erster deutscher 
Herbstsalon (First German Autumn Salon) 
at Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin. 
October. Album Kandinsky, 1901-1913 
published by Der Sturm, Berlin, includes 
"Riickblicke" ("Reminiscences") as well as 
his descriptions of paintings Composition 
IV, Composition VI and Painting with 
White Border. 

November 7-December 8. Participates in 
Moderne Kunst Kring (Modern Art 
Circle), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 


January 1. One-man show opens at 
Thannhauser's Moderne Galerie, Munich. 
January. Invited to lecture at opening of 
one-man exhibition at Kreis fur Kunst, 
Cologne. Submits manuscript but does not 
deliver lecture. 

March. Second edition of Der Blaue 
Reiter almanac published by Piper, 
Munich. Hugo Ball plans book on the 
new theater with participation of Kandin- 
sky, Klee, Marc, de Hartmann and others. 
War curtails production. 
April 23. English edition of Uber das 
Geistige in der Kunst published in London 
and Boston; shorter Russian version pub- 
lished later in Petrograd. 
Kandinsky's letters to Arthur Jerome 
Eddy published in Eddy's book Cubists 
and Post-hnpressionists in Chicago. 
May-August 1. For foyer of apartment of 
Edwin A. Campbell, 635 Park Avenue, 
New York, executes four panels (now 
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York). 

June. Extracts from Kandinsky's "Formen 
— und Farben Sprache," translated by 
Edward Wadsworth, appear in Blast I, 

August 3. After outbreak of World War I 
leaves Munich area with Miinter for 

August 6-November 16. Sojourn in 
Goldach on Lake Constance, Switzerland. 
Begins work on notes that later form the 
basis for his Bauhaus Book, Punkt und 
Linie zu Flache (Point and Line to Plane), 
of 1926. 

Writes stage composition Violetter Vor- 
hang (Violet Curtain). 
December. Returns to Russia, traveling 
through Zurich and across Balkans. Ar- 
rives in Moscow after one-week stay in 
Odessa; resides at 1 Dolgii Street until 
December 1921. 


Executes no oil paintings this year. 

Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepa- 

nova live temporarily in Kandinsky's 


March. David Burliuk rents studio next to 


April. Participates in Vystavka zhivopisi 

191; god (Exhibition of Painting: 1915), 

Moscow, with Natan Altman, David and 

Vladimir Burliuk, Goncharova, Larionov 

and others. 

May. Spends three weeks in Odessa. 

August 19-September 7. Visits Crimea. 

December 23, 1915-March 1916. To 

Stockholm, where he meets Miinter for 

the last time for Christmas; he remains 

there until March. 


February 1. One-man exhibition of work 
organized by Walden and Carl Gummeson 
held at Gummesons Konsthandel, 

February. Kandinsky's essay Om Konst- 
naren (On the Artist) published as a bro- 
chure by Forlag Gummesons Konsthandel, 
Stockholm; statement "Konsten utan 
amne" ("Art Without Subject") published 
in periodical Konst, Stockholm. 
March 17. Galerie Dada (formerly Galerie 
Corray), Zurich, opens with exhibition of 
works by Kandinsky and others. 
Leaves Stockholm for Moscow via 

June. Klange poems read by Ball at Caba- 
ret Voltaire, Zurich; poem "Sehen" 
("See") published in review Cabaret 
Voltaire, Zurich. 

Summer. Remains in Moscow with visits 
to Odessa and Kiev. 

September. Meets Nina von Andreevskaia. 
December 10, 1916-January 14, 1917. Par- 
ticipates in Vystavka sovremennoi russoi 
zhivopisi (Exhibition of Contemporary 
Russian Painting), Petrograd, with Kazi- 
mir Malevich, Liubov Popova and others. 


February 11. Marries Nina von Andreev- 

Trip to Finland. 

April. Ball lectures on Kandinsky at Ga- 
lerie Dada, Zurich; reads three poems by 
Kandinsky at second Der Sturm soiree, 

September. Birth of son Volodia (Lodia). 
Fall. Narkompros (NKP) (People's Com- 
missariat for Enlightenment) established 
in Moscow shortly after October Revolu- 


tion. Anatolii Lunacharsky is made 
Commissar of Enlightenment. 
December. Kandinsky's work reproduced 
in Dada, no. 2, Zurich. 


January 29. Department of Visual Arts 
(IZO) established within NKP. Vladumr 
Tatlin, Moscow division emissary for 
Lunacharsky, visits Kandinsky and re- 
quests his participation in IZO; Kandin- 
sky is named member of IZO NKP. 

Meets Popova, Olga Rozanova and 
Nadezhda Udaltsova through NKP. 
April. Svomas (Free State Art Studios), 
innovative schools, established in Moscow 
and Petrograd. Antoine Pevsner, Malevich 
and Tatlin teach at Svomas in Moscow. 
One-man exhibition of Rodchenko's 
work, Five Years of Art, held at Club of 
the Leftist Federation, Moscow. 
July. Becomes director of theater and film 
sections of IZO NKP and is named editor 
of journal Izobrazitel'noe hkusstvo 
(Visual Art), published by IZO NKP, 
Petrograd. His article "O stesenicheskoi 
kompozitsii" ("On Stage Composition") 
appears in first issue (January 1919). 
October. Becomes head of a studio at 
Moscow Svomas. "Stupeni" ("Steps"), 
Russian edition of "Ruckblicke" pub- 
lished in Tekst khudozhnika (Text of 
the Artist) by IZO NKP, Moscow. With 
critic Nikolai Punin and artists Tatlin 
and David Shterenberg, appointed to 
committee in charge of International 
Bureau of IZO; Kandinsky initiates con- 
tact with German artists and architect 
Walter Gropius. 

December 5. Commission on the Organi- 
zation of the Museums of Painterly Cul- 
ture, IZO NKP, proposes system of new 
museums; commission includes artists 
Altman and Aleksei Karev. 


February. "O tochke" ("On the Point") 
and "O linii" ("On the Line") appear in 
hkusstvo (Art), no. 3, February 1, and 
no. 4, February 22. 

Museums of Painterly Culture established 
in Moscow, Petrograd and other cities. 
Working with Bureau and Purchasing 
Fund, which Rodchenko heads, Kandin- 
sky helps with acquisition of art and its 
distribution to the newly instituted 

Works on Entsiklopediia izobrazitel'nogo 
iskusstva (Encyclopedia of Fine Arts), 
which is never published. 

Participates in Fifth State Exhibition of the 
Trade Union of Artist-Painters of the New 
Art (From Impressionism to Nonobjectiv- 
ity), Moscow, with Ivan Khun, Pevsner, 
Popova, Rodchenko, Stepanova, Udaltsova 
and others. 

Spring. Gropius founds Bauhaus in Wei- 
mar. Kandinsky is aware of this and other 
progressive arts organizations initiated 
after German Revolution through his 
work with International Bureau of IZO. 
June. Kandinsky's article "W. Kandinsky: 
Selbstcharakteristik" ("Self-Characteriza- 
tion") published by Paul Westheim in 
periodical Das Kttnstblatt, Potsdam. 
December. Participates in First State Exhi- 
bition of Paintings by Local and Musco- 
vite Artists, Vitebsk, with Altman, Chagall, 
Kliun, El Lissitzky, Malevich and Rod- 
chenko, among many others. 


Through his administrative duties, Kan- 
dinsky is brought into frequent contact 
with Rodchenko, Stepanova and other 


January-April. Three articles by Kandin- 
sky, including "Muzei zhivopisnoi kul'- 
tury" ("The Museum of the Culture of 
Painting") and "O velikoi utopii" ("On 
the Great Utopia") published in IZO NKP 
journal Khudozhestvennaia zhizn' (Ar- 
tistic Life), Moscow, which had replaced 
hkusstvo in 1919. 

May. Inkhuk (Institute of Artistic Cul- 
ture) established in Moscow, with Kan- 
dinsky initially as head, affiliated 
organizations founded soon thereafter in 
Petrograd, Vitebsk and other cities in 
Soviet Union and Europe. 
June 16. Death of son Volodia. 
June. Kandinsky presents pedagogical 
program for Inkhuk at First Pan-Russian 
Conference of Teachers and Students, 
Moscow Svomas. Named Honorary Pro- 
fessor at University of Moscow. 
Participates in Exhibition of Four, Mos- 
cow, with Rodchenko, Stepanova and 
Nikolai Sinezubov. 

September. Svomas replaced by Vkhu- 
temas (Higher State Art-Technical Stu- 
dios), where Kandinsky teaches. 
November-December. Participates in 
Societe Anonyme exhibition, New York, 
and in Nineteenth Exhibition of the Pan- 
Russian Central Exhibiting Bureau of the 
IZO Department of the NKP. 

December 19-25. Reports on activities of 
Inkhuk at First Pan-Russian Conference 
of Heads of Art Sections operating under 
NKP, Moscow. Kandinsky's program is 
rejected; at end of year he leaves Inkhuk. 


Designs cups and saucers for porcelain 



May. Appointed to chair science and art 
committee, which includes Petr Kogan and 
A.M. Rodionov, to investigate possibility 
of establishing Russian Academy of Ar- 
tistic Sciences (RAKhN). Also serves as 
chairman of subcommittee on physico- 
psychology and the visual arts. 
June. Kandinsky presents his plan for 
Physicopsychological Department of 
RAKhN, which is accepted by academy 
commission, July 21. 
July. Charles- Andre Julien interviews 
Kandinsky in Moscow for article on the 
arts in post-Revolutionary Russia; inter- 
view not published until 1969. 
Summer. Delivers lecture on "The Basic 
Elements of Painting" to science and art 
committee of RAKhN; special department 
of fine arts is not established until January 

October. RAKhN opens with Kogan as 
president and Kandinsky as vice-president. 
Participates in his last exhibitions in Rus- 
sia, Mir Iskusstva and Third Traveling Art 
Exhibition of the Soviet Regional Sub- 
division of the Museum Directorship, 
Sovetsk (Kirov Province). 
December. Kandinsky leaves Soviet Rus- 
sia for Berlin, where he stays in furnished 
room on Mottstrasse. Meets Lyonel 


March. Gropius offers Kandinsky position 
at Weimar Bauhaus. 
April 30-June 5. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie Goldschmidt-Wallerstein, Berlin. 
June. Moves to Weimar, lives in furnished 
room in Cranachstrasse. Kandinsky and 
Klee reunited. Teaches Theory of Form 
(Formlehre) in the preliminary course and 
is Formmeister of Wall-Painting Work- 
shop at Bauhaus. 

Summer. Designs wall paintings for en- 
trance room of projected art museum, 
exhibited at Juryfreie Kunstschau, in 
Landesausstellungsgebaude, Berlin, in 

July 1-14. One-man exhibition, Thann- 
hauser's Moderne Galerie, Munich. 


July. Offered teaching position at Art 
Academy in Tokyo, which he declines. 
September. Vacations with Feininger at 
home of Gropius's mother at Timmen- 
dorfer Strand near Liibeck. 
September i-October 15. One-man exhi- 
bition at Gummesons Konsthandel, 
Stockholm. Participates in Erste russische 
Kunstausstellung at Galerie van Diemen, 

Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), portfolio of 
graphic works, printed in Weimar, pub- 
lished by Propylaen-Verlag, Berlin. 


March 23-May 4. First one-man exhibi- 
tion in New York organized by Societe 
Anonyme, of which he becomes first hon- 
orary vice-president; forms close associa- 
tion with Katherine Dreier. 
April. Suggests that Schonberg direct 
Weimar Musikhochschule. Begins corre- 
spondence with Will Grohmann. 
August 15-September 30. Bauhaus Aus- 
stellung in Weimar; Kandinsky's "Die 
Grundelemente der Form" ("The Basic 
Elements of Form"), "Farbkurs und 
Seminar" ("Color Course and Seminar") 
and "Ober die abstrakte Buhnensynthese" 
("Abstract Synthesis on the Stage") pub- 
lished in Bauhaus anthology. 
September. Vacations at Muritz and Binz 
on Baltic Sea. 
Fall. Lives in Siidstrasse, Weimar. 


March. Blaue Vier (Blue Four), exhibition 
group comprised of Feininger, Jawlensky, 
Kandinsky and Klee, formed by Galka 
Scheyer who becomes Kandinsky's repre- 
sentative in United States. 
August. Vacations in Wennigstedt auf Sylt 
on North Sea. 


February. Visits Dresden and Dessau. 
April 1. Bauhaus at Weimar closes. 
June. Moves to Dessau where Bauhaus is 
relocated, rents furnished apartment at 
Moltkestrasse 7; sublets room to Klee. 
Kandinsky's "Abstrakte Kunst" ("Ab- 
stract Art") published in Der Cicerone. 
Summer. Vacations in Binz. Otto Ralfs 
forms Kandinsky Gesellschaft of eight 
German art collectors. 
November. Completes manuscript of 
Punkt und Linie zu Flache. 


Punkt und Linie zu Flache published by 
Albert Langen, Munich, "Tanzkurven: 
Zu den Tanzen der Palucca" ("Dance 

Curves: The Dances of Palucca") appears 
in Das Kunst blatt. 
Father dies in Odessa. 
May. Kandinsky's sixtieth birthday exhi- 
bition opens in Braunschweig, travels to 
Dresden, Berlin, Dessau and other Euro- 
pean cities. 

Mid-June. Moves to Burgkuhnauer Allee 
6 (later renamed Stresemann Allee) in 
Dessau; occupies Masters' double house 
with Klee. 

Summer. Vacations in Muritz. 
November. Participates in An Interna- 
tional Exhibition of Modern Art, organ- 
ized by Societe Anonyme at The 
Brooklyn Museum. 

December. Periodical Bauhaus established. 
First issue, dedicated to Kandinsky on his 
sixtieth birthday, includes his "Der Wert 
des theoretischen Unterrichts in der Ma- 
lerei" ("The Value of Theoretical Instruc- 
tion in Painting"). 


May. Begins to teach Free-Painting class. 
Summer. Vacations in Austria and Switzer- 
land, visiting the Schonbergs at Worther 

Fall. Friendship with Christian Zervos 


March. Kandinskys become German 

April 1. Hannes Meyer succeeds Gropius 
as Director of Bauhaus. 
Designs and directs staging of Modest 
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, 
which opens April 4 at Friedrich-Theater, 

Kandinsky's "Kunstpadagogik"; "Analy- 
tisches Zeichnen" ("Art Pedagogy"; "Ana- 
lytical Drawing") published in Bauhaus 

Summer. Vacations at Nice and Juan- 
les-Pins on French Riviera; Les Sables 
d'Olonne, Paris. 

October. Recent watercolors exhibited at 
Galerie Ferdinand Moller, Berlin. 
October-November. One-man exhibition 
at Neue Kunst Fides, Dresden. 


January 15-31. First one-man exhibition 
in Paris of watercolors and gouaches at 
Galerie Zak. 

April 20-May 9. Bauhaus artists exhibi- 
tion at Kunsthalle Basel. 
Early May. Marcel Duchamp and Kath- 
erine Dreier visit Kandinsky at Bauhaus. 

One-man exhibition at The Oakland Art 

Gallery, California (until May 10). 

Summer. Meets Hilla Rebay, Mr. and Mrs. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim. 

August. Vacations with Klee at Hendaye 

(Cote Basque); travels to Belgium, visits 

James Ensor in Ostend. 

October. Blaue Vier exhibition held at 

Galerie Ferdinand Moller, Berlin. 

November. Visits Erich Mendelsohn and 

his wife in Berlin. 


January. Invited by Michel Seuphor to 
collaborate on periodical Cercle et Carre. 
March 1-15. One-man exhibition at Brax- 
ton Gallery, Hollywood, the first in a 
series of shows of the Blaue Vier, contin- 
uing to May 15. 

March 14-31. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie de France, Paris. Travels to Paris, 
meets Jean Helion and Gualtieri di San 

Travels to Cattolica, Verona, Bologna, 
Urbino, Ravenna and Venice; is particu- 
larly impressed by mosaics in Ravenna. 
Returns to Bauhaus by May 4. 
April 18-May 1. Exhibits Tivo Sides 
Red and Right in Cercle et Carre exhi- 
bition at Galerie 23, Paris. 
Paul Schultze-Naumburg removes works 
by Kandinsky, Klee and Oskar Schlemmer 
from Weimar Museum. 
August. Mies van der Rohe replaces Meyer 
as director of Bauhaus. 

193 1 

February. One-man exhibition of paint- 
ings and watercolors at Galerie Alfred 
Flechtheim, Berlin. 

March. Receives offer of teaching position 
at Art Students League, New York, which 
he declines. 

Designs ceramic tiles for a music room at 
Deutsche Bauausstellttng, Berlin, which 
opens May 9. 

May 26. Visits Klee in Worlitz; edits Bau- 
haus, vol. v, no. 3, issue dedicated to Klee, 
which includes his tribute to Klee. 
Summer. Visits Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, 
Greece and Italy on Mediterranean cruise. 
Fall. First contribution to Zervos's Cahiers 
d'Art: "Reflexions sur Part abstrait" 
("Reflections on Abstract Art"). 


February. One-man exhibition of water- 
colors, drawings and prints at Galerie 
Ferdinand Moller, Berlin. 
April. Designs cover for transition, which 
also publishes his poetry. 


August 22. Dessau city legislature, led by 
National Socialist Party, decrees dissolu- 
tion of Dessau Bauhaus, effective 
October i. 

September. Vacations in Dubrovmk, 

October. Bauhaus moves to outskirts of 
Berlin and operates as a private institute. 
November. Work exhibited at Valentine 
Gallery, New York. 

December 10. Moves to Bahnstrasse 19, 
Berlin Siidende, where he lives for the next 

J 933 

April n. Bauhaus in Berlin closed by the 

Nazis but negotiates to reopen. 

July 20. Bauhaus closes for good, with 

decision by faculty to dissolve. 

August. Paints last work in Germany, 

Development in Brown. 

Visits Paris, vacations at Les Sablettes 

(Var) near Toulon. 

October. Stays at Hotel des Saints-Peres, 

Paris. Sees Duchamp. 

October 27-November 26. Guest of honor 

in sixth exhibition of Association Ar- 

tistique, Les Surindependants, Surrealist 

group exhibition. 

October-early December. Returns to 


Late December. Moves into sixth-floor 

apartment at 135 boulevard de la Seine 

(now General Koenig), Neuilly-sur- 

Seine, suburb of Paris. 


February. Resumes work. Works illus- 
trated in Abstraction-Creation, Paris. 
May. Exhibition at Galerie Cahiers d'Art, 


February. Invited to serve as artist in resi- 
dence at Black Mountain College, Black 
Mountain, North Carolina; he declines 
the offer. 

February 24-March 31. Participates in 
These,, synthese at Kunst- 
museum Lucerne. 

Shows with Max Weber and Klee at J.B. 
Neumann's New Art Circle, New York: 
his first exhibition with Neumann, who 
becomes his representative in eastern 
United States in July. 


Participates in Abstract and Concrete, 
Lefevre Gallery, London; Cubism and 
Abstract Art, The Museum of Modern 
Art, New York. 


Interviewed by art dealer Karl Nieren- 
dorf, who mounts one-man show of his 
work in New York in March. 
February 21-March 29. Kandinsky exhi- 
bition at Kunsthalle Bern; he sees it with 

Many of his works in German museums 
are confiscated by the Nazis. 
Included in Entartete Kunst (Degenerate 
Art) exhibition, which opens July 19 at 
Haus der Kunst, Munich. 
July 30-October 1. Participates in 
Origines et developpement de I'art inter- 
national independant at Jeu de Paume, 


February. Writes "Abstract of Concreet?" 

for catalogue of exhibition Abstracte 

Kunst at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 

One-man show at Guggenheim Jeune 

Gallery, London. 

March. Kandinsky's "L'Art Concret" 

published in first issue of San Lazzaro's 

XX' Siecle. 

August. Kandinsky's German passport 



January. Completes Composition X, his 
last large canvas. 

February. Negotiations for proposed re- 
trospective at Jeu de Paume, Paris. 
French government purchases Compo- 
sition IX. 

May 10-27. Participates in Abstract and 
Concrete Art, Guggenheim Jeune Gallery, 
London; writes statement for it. 
June 30-July 15. Included in first Realites 
Nouvelles exhibition at Galerie Charpen- 
tier, Paris. 

French citizenship decreed. 
September 3. War declared with Germany. 


May. German invasion of France. 


May. On behalf of Centre Americain de 
Secours and various Americans, Varian 
Fry arranges passage from Marseilles to 
New York for Kandinskys, but they decide 
to remain in France. 


From mid-year Kandinsky does only small 
paintings on wood or canvasboard. 
July 21-August 4. One-man exhibition at 
Galerie Jeanne Bucher, held clandestinely 
because of Nazi occupation. 


January. Shows at Galerie Jeanne Bucher 
with Domela and Nicolas de Stael; exhi- 
bits with them and Alberto Magnelli at 
Galerie l'Esquisse, Paris, in April. 
March. Completes Tempered Elan, last 
painting catalogued in Handlist (no. 738). 
Becomes ill, but continues working until 


October 11-31. Four works included in 

exhibition of abstract art at Galerie Berri- 


November 7-December 15. Last one-man 

exhibition during his lifetime held at 

Galerie l'Esquisse. 

December 13. Dies in Neuilly from a 

sclerosis in cerebellum. 



i. By Kandinsky 

Uber das Geistige in der Kunst. Insbe- 
sondere in der Malerei [On the Spiritual 
in Art and Painting in Particular], Munich, 
Piper, January 1912. Second edition, April 
1912. Third edition 1912 

Der Blaue Reiter, Kandinsky and Franz 
Marc, eds., Munich, Piper, 1912. Second 
edition 1914. Documentary edition in Eng- 
lish translation by Klaus Lankheit: The 
Blaite Reiter Almanac, New York, 
Viking, 1974 

Klangc [Sounds], Munich, Piper, 1913 

"Riickhlicke" [Reminiscences"] in Kandin- 
sky, 1901-1913, Berlin, Der Sturm, 191 3. 
French translation: "Regards sur le 
passe" in Wassily Kandinsky: Regards 
sur le passe et autres textes, 1912-1922, 
Paris, Hermann, 1974, pp. 87-132, with 
introduction by Jean-Paul Bouillon 

"Stupeni" in Tekst khudozhnika ["Steps" 
in Text of the Artist], Moscow, IZO NKP, 
1918. Russian version of "Ruckblicke" 

Punkt und Linie zu Flacbe: Beitrag zur 
Analyse der malerischen Elemente [Point 
and Line to Plane. A Contribution to the 
Analysis of the Pictorial Elements], 
Bauhausbiicher9, Munich, Albert Langen, 

"Zwolf Briefe von Wassily Kandinsky an 
Hans Thiemann 1933-1939," Wallraf- 
Richartz Jahrbuch, vol. XXXVIII, 1976, 
pp. 155-166 

For Kandinsky's collected writings see: 

Kandinsky: Essays iiber Kunst und Kiinst- 
ler, Max Bill, ed., Stuttgart, 1955. Contains 
most of Kandinsky's articles published 
between I9i2and 1943 

Wassily Kandinsky: Ecrits complets, 
Philippe Sers, ed., Paris, Denoel-Gonthier, 
vol. 2, 1970; vol. 3, 1975; vol. 1 in prepara- 

Wassily Kandinsky: Tutti gli scritti, 

Philippe Sers., ed., Milan, Feltrinelli, 
vol. 1, 1973; vol. 2, 1974 

Kandinsky: Die Gesammelten Schriften, 
Hans K. Roethel and Jelena Hahl-Koch, 
eds., Bern, Benteli Verlag, vol. 1, 1980 

Kandinsky: Complete Writings on Art, 
Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, 
eds., 2 vols., Boston, G.H. Hall &: Co., 1982 

2. On Kandinsky and his Contemporaries 

Troels Andersen, "Some Unpublished Let- 
ters by Kandinsky," Artes: Periodical of 
the Fine Arts (Copenhagen), vol. II, 
October 1966, pp. 90-110 

Troels Andersen, Malevich, Amsterdam, 

Vivian Endicott Barnett, Kandinsky at 
the Guggenheim, New York, 1983 

Bauhaus-Archiv Museum, Sammlungs- 
Katalog (Auswahl) Architektur. Design. 
Malerei. Graphik. Kunstpddagogik, 
Berlin, 1981 

Max Bill, ed., Wassily Kandinsky, Paris, 

Szymon Bojko, "Vkhutemas," Art and 
Artists, vol. IX, December 1974, pp. 8-13 

John E. Bowlt, ed., Russian Art of the 
Av ant-Garde; Theory and Criticism, 
1902-1934, New York, 1976 

John E. Bowlt and Rose-Carol Washton 
Long, eds., The Life of Vasilii Kandinsky 
in Russian Art: A Study of "On the 
Spiritual in Art," Newtonville, Massa- 
chusetts, 1980 

Marcel Brion, Kandinsky, London, 1961 

Klaus Brisch, Wassily Kandinsky, Unter- 
suchungen zur Entstehung der gegen- 
standslosen Malerei an seinem Werk von 
1900-1921, Ph.D. dissertation, University 
of Bonn, 1955 

Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Uni- 

versity, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Con- 
cepts of the Bauhaus: The Busch-Reisinger 
Collection, John David Farmer and 
Geraldine Weiss, eds., 1971. Exhibition 

"Centenaire de Kandinsky," XX f Siecle, 
no. XXVII, December 1966. English edi- 
tion, Homage to Wassily Kandinsky, 
New York, 1975 

David Elliott, Rodchenko, New York, 1979 

L.D. Ettlinger, "Kandinsky's 'At Rest' " 
in Charlton Lectures on Art at King's 
College, London, 1961, pp. 3-21 

Julia and Lyonel Feininger, "Wassily Kan- 
dinsky" in Wassily Kandinsky, Concern- 
ing the Spiritual in Art, New York, 1947, 
pp. 12-14 

Jonathan David Fineberg, Kandinsky in 
Paris 1906-7, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard 
University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
May 1975 

Jonathan Fineberg, "Les Tendances Nou- 
velles, The Union Internationale . . ., and 
Kandinsky," Art History, vol. 2, June 
I979> PP- z.zi-246 

Marcel Franciscono, Walter Gropius and 
the Creation of the Bauhaus in Weimar: 
the Ideals and Artistic Theories of its 
Founding Years, Urbana, Illinois, 1971 

Marcel Franciscono, "Paul Klee in the 
Bauhaus: The Artist as Lawgiver," Arts 
Magazine, vol. LII, September 1977, pp. 

Christian Geelhaar, Paul Klee and the 
Bauhaus, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1973 

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Die Kunst- 
ismen in Russland, 1907-1930, 1977. 
Exhibition catalogue with text by John E. 

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Kiinst- 
lerinnen der russischen Avantgarde, 1910- 
I 93°> 1979- Exhibition catalogue with 


texts by Szymon Bojko, J. E. Bowlt, 
Krystyna Rubinger, Larisa Zhadova ct al 

Eugen Gomringer, ]osef Albers, New 
York, 1968 

Camilla Gray, The Great Experiment: 
Russian Art, 1863-1922, New York, 1961 

Will Grohmann, "Wassily Kandinsky," 
Der Cicerone, Jg. XVI, September 192.4, 
pp. 887-898 

Will Grohmann, "Wassily Kandinsky," 
Cahiers a" Art, 4e annee, 1919, pp. 311-32.9 

Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paris, 

Will Grohmann, "Catalogue des oeuvres 
graphiques," Selection, no. 14, July 1933, 
pp. 28-31 

Will Grohmann, Paul Klee, New York, 


Will Grohmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Life 

and Work, New York, 1958 

Will Grohmann, "Art into Architecture: 
The Bauhaus Ethos," Apollo, vol. lxxvi, 
March 1962, pp. 37-41 

Ludwig Grote, "Buhnenkompositionen 
von Kandinsky," iio; Internationale Re- 
vue, Amsterdam, vol. II, no. 13, 1928, 
PP. 4-5 

Ludwig Grote "Junge Bauhausmaler," 
Bauhaus, no. 2/3, 1918, p. 31 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Kandinsky Watercolors: A Se- 
lection from The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Museum and The Hilla von Rebay 
Foundation, New York, 1980. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Vivian Endicott 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Arr of the Avant-Garde in 
Russia: Selections from the George Costa- 
kis Collection, 1981. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Margit Rowell and Angelica 
Zander Rudenstine 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Kandinsky in Munich: 1896- 
1914, 1982. Exhibition catalogue with texts 
by Peg Weiss, Peter Jelavich and Carl E. 

Werner Haftmann, "Kandinsky (1927- 
1933)," Derriere le miroir, no. 154, No- 
vember 1965, pp. i-[i8] 

Werner Haftmann, The Mind and Work 
of Paul Klee, New York, 1967 

Jelena Hahl-Koch, ed., Arnold Schonberg- 

Wassily Kandinsky: Briefe, Bilder und 
Dokumente eincr aussergeivohnlichen 
Begegnung, Vienna, 1980 

Erika Hanfstaengl, Wassily Kandinsky, 
Zeichnungen und Aquarelle. Katalog der 
Sammlung in der Stadtischen Galerie im 
Lenbachhaus Miinchen, Munich, 1974 

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Die Maler am 
Bauhaus, 1950. Exhibition catalogue 

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Wassily Kandin- 
sky 1866-1944, 1976. Exhibition catalogue 

Wulf Herzogenrath, Oskar Schlemmer: 
Die Wandgestaltung der neuen Architek- 
tur, Munich, 1973 

Hans Hess, Lyonel Feininger, New York, 

The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Bau- 
haus Color, 1976. Exhibition catalogue 
with text by Clark V. Poling 

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, The Bauhaus: 
An Introductory Survey, Victoria, Australia, 

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, "Letter from 
Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack to Standish 
Lawder, Form, Cambridge, England, no. 2, 
September 1966, p. 13 

Werner Hofmann, "Studien zur Kunsttheo- 
rie des 20. Jahrhunderts," Zeitschrift fiir 
Kunstgeschichte, Munich, vol. 19, January 
1956, pp. 136-150 

Werner Hofmann, "Kandinsky und Mon- 
drian, 'Gekritzel' und 'Schema' als graphi- 
sche Sprachmittel," 1. Internationale der 
Zeichnung, Darmstadt, 1964, pp. 13-17 

Karl Heinz Hiiter, Das Bauhaus in Wei- 
mar: Studie zur gesellschaftspolitischen 
Geschichte einer deutschen Kunstschule , 
Berlin, 1976 

Johannes Itten, "Analysen alter Meister," 
Utopia: Dokumente der Wirklichkeit, 
Bruno Adler, ed., Weimar, 192,1, pp. 28-78 

Johannes Itten, Tagebuch: Beitrdge zu 
einem Kontrapunkt der bildenden Kunst, 
Berlin, 1930 

Johannes Itten, The Art of Color: The 
Subjective Experience and Objective Ra- 
tionale of Color, New York, 1961 

Johannes Itten, Design and Form: The Basic 
Course at the Bauhaus, New York, 1964 

Nina Kandinsky, Kandinsky und ich, 
Munich, 1976 

German Kargmov, Rodchenko, London, 

Richard Kostelanetz, ed., Moholy-Nagy, 
New York, 1970 

Friedhelm Kroll, Bauhaus 1919-1933, 
Kiinstler zwischen Isolation und Kollek- 
tiver Praxis, Diisseldorf, 1974 

Herbert Kuhn, "Kandinsky: I. Fiir," Das 
Kunstblatt, vol. Ill, 1919, p. 178; Willi 
Wolfradt, "II. Wider. (Die Kunst und das 
Absolut)," pp. 180-183 

"Das Kunstprogratnm des Kommissariats 
fiir Volksaufklarung in Russland," Das 
Kunstblatt, vol. Ill, March 1919, pp. 91-93 

Kunsthalle Koln, Paul Klee: Das Werk der 
Jabre 1919-1933, 1979. Exhibition 

Lothar Lang, Das Bauhaus 1919-1933: 
Idee und Wirklichkeit, Berlin, 1965 

Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum der Stadt 
Duisburg and Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden- 
Baden, Alexander Rodtschenko und 
Warwara Stepanova, t982. Exhibition 

Galleria del Levante, Munich, Junge 
Maler am Bauhaus, 1979. Exhibition 
catalogue with text by Peter Hahn 

Kenneth C. Lindsay, An Examination of 
the Fundamental Theories of Wassily 
Kandinsky, Ph.D. dissertation, Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin, Madison, 1951 

Kenneth C. Lindsay, "Graphic Art in 
Kandinsky's Oeuvre" in Prints, New 
York, 1962, pp. 235-252 

Rose-Carol Washton Long, Kandinsky: 
The Development of an Abstract Style, 
New York, 1980 

Long Beach Museum of Art, The Milton 
Wichner Collection, Constance Fitzsim- 
mons, ed., 1981. Exhibition catalogue 
with texts by Ida Katherine Rigby 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The 
Avant-Garde in Russia, 1910-1930: New 
Perspectives, Stephanie Barron and 
Maurice Tuchman, eds., 1980. Exhibition 

Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., New 
York, Kandinsky: The Bauhaus Years, 
New York, 1966. Exhibition catalogue 
with text by Will Grohmann 

Karin von Maur, Oskar Schlemmer, 2 
vols., Munich, 1979 

Hannes Meyer, Batten und Gesellschaft: 
Scbriften, Briefe, Projekte, Dresden, 1980 

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy: Ex- 


periment in Totality, 2nd edition, Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, 1969 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kandinsky , 
trente peintures des musees sovietiques, 
1979. Exhibition catalogue with text by 
Christian Derouet 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre 
Georges Pompidou, Paris, Paris-Moscou, 
1900-1930, 1979. Exhibition catalogue 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Bauhaus 1919-1918, Herbert Bayer, Ise 
Gropius and Walter Gropius, eds., 1938. 
Exhibition catalogue 

Andrei Nakov, Abstrait/Concret: art non- 
objectif rasse et polonais, Paris, 1981 

Nationalgalerie, Akademie der Kiinste, 
Grossen Orangerie des Schlosses Char- 
lottenburg, Berlin, Tendenzen der 
Zwanziger Jahre: 15. Europaische Kun- 
stausstellung, 1977. Exhibition catalogue 

Gillian Naylor, Bauhaus, London, 1968 
June L. Ness, Lyonel Feininger, New York, 

Eckhard Neumann, ed., Bauhaus and 
Bauhaus People, New York, 1970 

Marisa Volpi Orlandini, Kandinsky: 
Dall'art nouveau alia psicologia della 
forma, Rome, 1968 

Paul Overy, Kandinsky: The Language of 
the Eye, New York, 1969 

Clark V. Poling, Color Theories of the 
Bauhaus Artists, Ph.D. dissertation, 
Columbia University, New York, 1973 

Clark V. Poling, "Kandinsky au Bauhaus: 
Theorie de la couleur et grammaire pic- 
turale," Change, vol. 26/27, February 
1976, special issue, "La Peinture," pp. 

Clark V. Poling, Kandinsky — Unterricht 
am Bauhaus: Farbenseminar und analyti- 
sches Zeichnen dargestellt am Beispiel der 
Sammlung des Bauhaus-Archivs, Berlin, 
Weingarten, 1982 

Herbert Read, Kandinsky 1866-1944, 
London, 1959 

Sixten Ringbom, "Art in 'The Epoch of 
the Great Spiritual': Occult Elements in 
the Early Theory of Abstract Painting," 
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld 
Institutes, vol. XXIX, 1966, pp. 386-418 

Sixten Ringbom, The Sounding Cosmos: 
A Study in the Spiritualism of Kandinsky 

and the Genesis of Abstract Painting, Abo, 
Finland, 1970 

Sixten Ringbom, "Paul Klee and the Inner 
Truth to Nature," Arts Magazine, vol. LII, 
September 1977, pp. 112-117 

Henning Rischbeiter, ed., Art and the 
Stage in the zoth Century: Painters and 
Sculptors Work for the Theater, Green- 
wich, Connecticut, 1969 

Daniel Robbins, "Vasily Kandinsky: Ab- 
straction and Image," Art journal, vol. 
XXII, Spring 1963, pp. i45-!47 

Hans Konrad Roethel, Kandinsky: Das 
graphische Werk, Cologne, 1970 

Hans K. Roethel in collaboration with 

Jean K. Benjamin, Kandinsky, New York, 


Hans K. Roethel and Jean K. Benjamin, 

Kandinsky: Catalogue Raisonne of the 

Oil-Paintings, 1900-191;, Ithaca, New 

York, 1982, vol. I 

Eberhard Roters, Painters of the Bauhaus, 
New York, 1969 

Willy Rotzler, ed., Johannes ltten: Werke 
und Schriften, Zurich, 1972 

Angelica Zander Rudenstine, The Gug- 
genheim Museum Collection: Paintings 
1880-194;, New York, 1976, vol. I, pp. 

Angelica Zander Rudenstine, ed., The 
George Costakis Collection: Russian 
Avant-Garde Art, New York, 1981 

Walter Scheidig, Crafts of the Weimar 
Bauhaus, New York, 1967 

Oskar Schlemmer, ed., Die Biihne im 
Bauhaus, Bauhausbiicher 4, Munich, 1925; 
English edition, Walter Gropius, ed., The 
Theater of the Bauhaus, Middletown, 
Connecticut, 1961 

The Letters and Diaries of Oskar Schlem- 
mer, Tut Schlemmer, ed., Krishna Win- 
ston, trans., Middletown, Connecticut, 1977 

Claude Schnaidt, Hannes Meyer: Bauen, 
Projekte und Schriften, Teufen, Switzer- 
land, 1965 

Norton Simon Museum at Pasadena, The 
Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Sara 
Campbell, ed., n.d. 

Werner Spies, Albers, New York, 1971 

Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar 1919-1923, 
Weimar and Munich, 1923 

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Klee und Kan- 

dinsky, Erinnerung an eine Kiinstler- 
freundschaft, 1979. Exhibition catalogue 
by Magdalena Droste 

Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 
Munich, Paul Klee: Das Fruhiverk, 1883- 
1912, Armin Zweite, ed., 1979. Exhibition 

[E.] Teriade, "Kandinsky," Le Centaure, 
3e annee, May 1929, pp. 220-223 

Marianne L. Teuber, "Blue Night by Paul 
Klee," Vision and Artifact, Mary Henle, 
ed., New York, 1976, pp. 131-151 

Towards a New Art: essays on the back- 
ground to abstract art 1910-20, London, 
1980. Texts by Peter Vergo et al 

Beeke Sell Tower, Klee and Kandinsky in 
Munich and at the Bauhaus, Ann Arbor, 
Michigan, 1981 

Konstantin Umanskij, "Russland IV: Kan- 
dinskij's Rolle im russischen Kunstleben," 
Der Ararat, Jg. II, May-June 1920, 
special issue, pp. 28-30 

Konstantin Umanskij, Neue Kunst in Russ- 
land 1914-1919, Potsdam and Munich, 
1920. Foreword by Leopold Zahn 

Pierre Volboudt, Die Zeichnungen 
Wassily Kandinskys, Cologne, 1974 

Peg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: The 
Formative Jugendstil Years, Princeton, 

Robert Welsh, "Abstraction at the Bau- 
haus," Artforum, vol. VIII, March 1970, 
pp. 46-51 

Rainer Wick, Bauhaus-Padagogik, 
Cologne, 1982 

Hans M. Wingler, The Bauhaus: Weimar, 
Dessau, Berlin, Chicago, Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, 1969 

Hans M. Wingler, Graphic Work from 
the Bauhaus, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1969 

Wiirttembergischer Kunsrverein, Stutt- 
gart, and Bauhaus-Archiv, Darmstadt, 
;o Jahre Bauhaus/ 50 Years Bauhaus, 1968. 
Catalogue for exhibition circulating in- 
ternationally 1968-70 

Hugo Zehder, Wassily Kandinsky: Unter 
autorisierter Benutzung der russischen 
Selbstbiographie, Dresden, 1920 

Christian Zervos, "Notes sur Kandinsky," 
Cahiers d'Art, 9e annee, 1934, pp. 149-157 

Christian Zervos, "Wassily Kandinsky 
1 866-1944," Cahiers d'Art, 2oe-2ie 
annees, 1945-1946, pp. 1 14-127 



Albers, Josef cat. nos. 263, 269, 280 

Arndt, Alfred cat. nos. 123, 178 

Baschant, Rudolf cat. no. I2ie 

Batz, Eugen cat. nos. 197-199, 203, 
2ioa-c, in, 219, 220 

Bayer, Herbert cat. nos. 119, I2if,g, 
186, 187 

Bobrov, Vastly Dmitrievich cat. nos. 


Brandt, Marianne cat. nos. 127-129 

Breuer, Marcel cat. nos. I75a-e, 176 

Dicker, Friedl cat. no. 11 1 

Erfurt, Hugo cat. nos. 160, 307 

Feininger, Lyonel cat. nos. 99, 121a, 

Graeff, Werner cat. no. 109 

Grote, Ludwig cat. nos. 325, 326 

Hartwig, Josef cat. no. 126 

Hirschfeld-Mack, Ludwig cat. nos. 
ii3-H5a,b, ii7a-c 

Itten, Johannes cat. nos. 100, 101, 

Itten, Johannes, Attributed to cat. 
no. 102 

Javvlensky, Alexej cat. nos. 284, 285 

Kandinsky, Vasily cat. nos. 1-29, 33- 
44, 49-51, 80-91, 94-98, 116, 121b, 
143-159, 180-185, 188-196, 201, 202, 
208, 209, 216, 217, 234-240, 246-248, 
252-257, 260-262, 264-266, 268, 270- 
2 73> 2 75 _i 77. 281-283, 286-288, 291- 
299, 301-303, 309-317, 320-321, 
323, 324, 327 

Kandinsky, Vasily, and Svipas, Vladas 
cat. no. 177 

Kessinger-Petitpierre, Friedly cat. nos. 
204, 205, 230, 231 

Klee, Paul cat. nos. 121c, 130-132, 
2-49. 150. 158, 259, 267, 279, 289, 290 

Kliun, Ivan cat. nos. 56-58 

Klode, Karl cat. nos. 215, 233 

Lang, Lothar cat. nos. 200, 212, 214, 
222, 223 

Lissitzky, El cat. nos. 73-77 

Makhroff, Olga cat. no. 31 

Malevich, Kazimir cat. nos. 52-55 

Metal Workshop, Weimar, Bauhaus 
cat. no. 125 

Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig cat. nos. 

Moholy-Nagy, Laszlo cat. nos. I2id, 

Moholy, Lucia cat. nos. 166, 167 

Peiffer-Watenphul, Max cat. no. no 

Popova, Liubov cat. nos. 60-65 

Rodchenko, Alexander cat. nos. 67-72 

Roseler, Hermann cat. no. 232 

Schlemmer, Oskar cat. nos. 118, I2ih, 
122, 134-136,179,241,242 

Thiemann, Hans cat. nos. 207, 213, 

Tschaschnig, Fritz cat. nos. 206, 211 

Udaltsova, Nadezhda cat. nos. 59, 66 

Ullmann-Broner, Bella cat. no. 225 

Voepel-Neujahr, Charlotte cat. nos. 

Wagenfeld, Wilhelm, and Jucker, K.J. 
cat. no. 124 

Weber, Vincent cat. no. 112 

Weininger, Andrew cat. nos. 243-245 




Courtesy Altonaer Museum, Hamburg: 
cat. no. 274 

Courtesy Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin: 
cat. nos. noa-c, 211, 319a 

Walter Drayer, Zurich; courtesy Anneliese 
Itten, Zurich: cat. no. 101 

Carmelo Guadagno: cat. nos. 146, 147, 

Carmelo Guadagno and David Heald: 
cat. no. 188 

David Heald: cat. no. 33 

Hans Hinz, Basel; courtesy Kupferstich- 
kabinett, Kunstmuseum Basel: 
cat. no. 262 

Courtesy Kunsthaus Zurich: cat. no. 41 

Geri T. Mancini; courtesy Yale University 
Art Gallery, New Haven: cat. no. 39 

Robert E. Mates: cat. nos. 202, 217 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon: 
cat. no. 259 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: 

cat. nos. 9, 25, 50, 190, 196, 257, 311, 314 

Courtesy Museum Ludwig, Cologne: 
cat. no. 36 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York: cat. no. 61 

Courtesy Staatliche Museen Preussischer 
Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie, Berlin: 
cat. no. 131 

Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 150 

Courtesy Stadtische Galerie im Lenbach- 
haus, Munich: cat. no. 37 

Courtesy Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam: 
cat. no. 52 

Black and White 

Courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 
Buffalo: fig. 25; cat. no. 67 

Courtesy Art Advisory SA, c/o Matthiesen 
Fine Art Ltd., London: cat. no. 40 

Courtesy Artcurial, Paris: cat. nos. 

Courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago: 
cat. no. 99 

Courtesy Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin: 
figs. 20-23, 35> cat - nos - I0i > 109-112, 
ii5a,b, 116, i2ia-h, 122, 123, 125, 128, 
129, 135, 140, 162, 176-178, 197-200, 
203-207, 212-215, 2I 8-233, 3ooa-c, 305, 
306, 324 

Courtesy Herbert Bayer: cat. nos. 119, 

van den Bichelaer; courtesy Van Abbe- 
museum, Eindhoven: C3t. no. 73 

Courtesy Museum Boymans-van Beunin- 
gen, Rotterdam: cat. nos. 159, 253, 266 

Rudolph Burckhardt: fig. 26 

Courtesy Busch-Reisinger Museum, Har- 
vard University, Cambridge, Massachu- 
setts: cat. nos. 19, 74, 103, 113, 114, 
ii7a-c, 126, 186, 241, 287 

Geoffrey Clements, Staten Island: 
cat. no. 309 

Prudence Cumings, Providence: 
cat. no. 68 

Walter Drayer, Zurich; courtesy Anneliese 
Itten, Zurich: cat. nos. 104, 105, 107 

Susan Einstein; courtesy Long Beach 
Museum of Art: cat. no. 285 

Philip Frantzolas; courtesy George Cos- 
takis, Athens: cat. no. 51 

Courtesy Galerie Beyeler, Basel: 
cat. nos. 1, 268, 297, 313 

Courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne: 
cat. no. 76 


Courtesy Galerie Thomas, Munich: 
cat. no. 136 

Phillip Galgiani; courtesy San Francisco 
Museum of Modern Art: cat. no. 273 

Courtesy Galleria Galatea, Turin: fig. 18 

Courtesy Graphische Sammlung, Staats- 
galerie Stuttgart: cat. nos. 118, 179 

Carmelo Guadagno: cat. no. 43 

Carmelo Guadagno and David Heald: 
cat. nos. 23, 28, 44 

Courtesy Haags Gemeentemuseum, The 
Hague: cat. no. 29 

David Heald: cat. no. 258 

Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum and Sculp- 
ture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, D.C.: cat. no. 280 

Courtesy Anneliese Itten, Zurich: 
cat. nos. 106, 108 

Courtesy Sidney Janis Gallery, New York: 
cat. no. 75 

Courtesy Kabinett Kunsthandel Wolfgang 
Werner, KG, Bremen: cat. no. 134 

Courtesy Kunstmuseum Basel: cat. nos. 
294, 296 

Courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern: cat. nos. 
267, 278 

Courtesy Paul Klee-Stiftung, Kunst- 
museum Bern; © COSMOPRESS, Geneva, 
1983: fig. 44 

Walter Klein; courtesy Kunstsammlung 
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Diisseldorf: 
cat. nos. 145, 156 

Courtesy Kunsthaus Zurich: cat. no. 100 

Courtesy Lighting Associates, Inc., New 
York: cat. no. 124 

Courtesy Mr. and Mrs. Adrien Maeght: 
cat. nos. 143, 275 

Robert E. Mates: figs. 2, 13, 46; cat. nos. 
8, 18, 20, 22, 38, 42, 81, 83, 130, 132, 149, 
152-154, 192, 195, 216, 246, 252, 254, 255, 
260, 271, 272, 277, 279, 281, 286, 292, 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon: 
figs. 6, 11, 16-18, 84-91 

Courtesy Lucia Moholy: cat. no. 167 

Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York: cat. no. 263 

Courtesy Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, 
Centre d'Initiation a l'Art Moderne, 
Geneva: cat. nos. 69, 71 

Courtesy Musee National d'Art Moderne, 
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: figs. 
8, 30-34, 37, 38, 40, 43; cat. nos. 12-17, 
11, 26, 27, 30-32, 34, 45, 49, 78, 79, 82, 
92a,b-98, 142, 148, 151, 155, 160, 161, 
163-165, i68-i75a-e, 180-185, 208, 209, 
247, 261, 265, 269, 270, 276, 284, 291, 293, 
^■99, 307, 3°8 

Courtesy Museum of Art, Rhode Island 
School of Design, Providence: cat. no. 251 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, 
New York: figs. 29, 42; cat. nos. 2, 7, 53, 

55. 7°, 71. 77. 12-7, 141. l8 7- 191. M*. -5°. 

Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art 
Library, New York: cat. no. 320 

Akio Nakamura; courtesy Ohara Museum 
of Art, Kurashiki, Japan: cat. no. 35 

Courtesy William Rockhill Nelson Gallery 
of Art, Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, 
Kansas City, Missouri: cat. no. 133 

Courtesy Offentliche Kunstsammlung 
Basel; © COSMOPRESS, Geneva, and 
ADAGP, Paris, 1983: fig. 45 

Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 283 

Courtesy The Phillips Collection, Wash- 
ington, D.C.: fig. 47 

Courtesy The Robert Gore Rifkind Center 
for German Expressionist Studies, Gift of 
the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation, The 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 319b 

Courtesy Santa Barbara Museum of Art: 
cat. no. 194 

Courtesy Scottish National Gallery of 
Modern Art, Edinburgh: cat. no. 249 

Courtesy Sotheby Parke Bernet, New 
York: fig. 48 

Courtesy Stadtische Galerie im Lenbach- 
haus, Munich fig. 27; cat. nos. 3-6, 10, 11 

Courtesy Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam: 
cat. no. 54 

Courtesy Theatermuseum der Universitat 
Koln: fig. 39; cat. nos. 234-240, 243-245 

Courtesy University Art Museum, Univer- 
sity of California, Berkeley: cat. nos. 

Bob Wharton; courtesy Fort Worth Art 
Association: cat. no. 158 

Courtesy Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Lud- 
wigshafen: cat. no. 193 

Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery, 
New Haven: cat. no. 62 


Exhibition 83/5 

8,000 copies of this catalogue, designed 
by Malcolm Grear Designers, typeset by 
Craftsman Type Inc., have been printed by 
Eastern Press in November 1983 for the 
Trustees of The Solomon R. Guggenheim 
Foundation on the occasion of the 
exhibition Kandinsky: Russian and 
Baubaus Years, 1915-1933-